Menus and Form Fill In

Effective use of menus depends on semantic organization, , menu-system structure, number and sequence of menu items, display rates, response time, short-cuts for frequent users, on line help and selection methods.

Semantic Organization

Menus should be organised in some way that reflects the meanings of the selections.

The main menu types are

Single menus
Menus offering a single choice.
Linear sequences
Guide users through a sequence of choices, always in the same order and regardless of the chices made by the user.
Tree structured menus
The sequence of menus depends on the choices made by the user. It has a tree structure which allows only one way to reach each menu.
Acyclic Networks
Some or all menus in the tree may be reachable by more than one sequence of choices.
Cyclic network
Special traversals may allow the user to jump around the menu tree.

Generally the later structures in this list are kmore complicated for users to understand.

Menu Hints

Menu Design

Naming Choose names carefully. Where a selection invokes another menu use the selection as the title of the invoked menu. Use familiar and consistent terminology. While numbers are usually better for making selections (in text interfaces) this causes problems when items like "RETURN TO MAIN MENU" get a different number in sucessive menus. Mnemonic letters help if one it to have type ahead. Movement of a highligt bar is also possible.

Mouse selection is the preferred mode for GUIs. Note that walking menus (these are the ones where you move the mouse to the right to get a submenu) can be difficult to use for some users.

Embedded Menus are found in the Web interface and other hypertex interfaces. Lynx is an interesting example where a text based interface is provided for the web. It permits the user to select whether they want to move the cursor or select by number. A great strength of embedded menus is that they make the provision of context for each choice natural.

Menu Implmentations

Form Fillin

Form Fillin Design Guidelines