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Submission details

32 +36/-4 votes

Update/Enhance the Windows 3.1 era menu in the top-left of every Window / update the "Ribbon" GUI

Submitted by broccauley on July 10, 2009 to Aesthetics, Legacy, Usability

Clicking on the icon in the top-left of every window produces a seldom used menu, whose sole purpose is to be familiar to Windows 3.1 users. It made sense to do this in 1995, but in 2009 it's time to move on...

In the "Ribbon GUI" Windows 7 applications, Microsoft have also illogically moved the menu button from being in the top-left. The top-left was ideal in Office 2007 because you can reach a corner of the screen very quickly with the mouse (see here for an interesting article on this). Therefore, this "Windows 3.1" menu in the top-left of every window is wasting valuable mouse area!

The typical Office 2007 user under Windows 7 would have the following functionality with the Office app maximized:
mouse to bottom-left: start menu
mouse to bottom-right: show desktop
mouse to top-right: close
mouse to top-left: program menu

I really think that Windows 8 should update the window-icon menu in the top-left of every window to be more functional than at present - i.e. it should take place of the blue menu button (the "application menu anchor") from the "Ribbon" interface in standard Windows apps (though not necessarily including the additional "ribbon" tab interface).

The top-left window icon could take one of two possible forms:

1. Still be the icon of the particular program in use (NOT like the ugly Office 2007 icons in the office orb, and NOT circular), except larger, and with an enhanced "Menu" functionality. They could perhaps indicate that this is a special button by also adding a small drop-down arrow symbol to its right.

2. A standardised blue button like in Windows 7 Paint or Wordpad. The Program icon is now moved to the centre-left of the window title. The window title is now centred.



Not fixed

Discussion (3 comments)

broccauley wrote on January 18, 2010, 4:29pm

It's a pity that Long deleted all the useful comments that were here previously... :( Anyway...

I see Firefox 4.0 mockups that are using this idea as well:

Come on Microsoft - make something like what Mozilla are proposing the default Ribbon interface behaviour.

I liked the Mozilla mock-up where they had both the icon and the app name with an arrow for the app-menu button (the bottom-left picture in the first link above).

Another mock-up that I propose to make for Word (inspired by these Mozilla mockups) is as follows:
- in the top-left have both the icon and the text "Word" on a blue background.
- the title in the centre would now just say "Untitled Document" (or whatever the document is saved as).

This new proposal would have the added advantage that you are clearly separating the application from document, as in this other taskforce suggestion:

Comment edited on March 3, 2010, 9:47pm

Comment edited on March 3, 2010, 9:57pm

broccauley wrote on February 11, 2010, 11:22pm

Opera 10.50 has now also implemented this interface!!:

This is *the* way that ribbon applications should really work - come on Microsoft - it's now your turn!

Comment edited on March 3, 2010, 9:48pm

Nyuszika7H wrote on June 2, 2010, 11:20am

Nice find. We should really remove that Windows 3.1 menu, and if third-party software placed items there, place their icons (sometimes with menus) to the left side of the Minimize button.

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