General rules

Throughout your design of a menu system, keep the user in mind. Think of what the user will have to go through to choose a menu item. Working with a mouse is simple for simple tasks, but when menus get long or are complicated and illogically arranged, working with a mouse can be very frustrating indeed.

Strive for Fixed Menus

When possible, your menus should offer a fixed set of visible choices. A large, variable set of choices such as fonts can make a menu unwieldy. Usually, a variable set of choices should be presented in either a requester or a scrolling list gadget. There are rare exceptions such as the standard User menu described later in this chapter.

Multiple Selection

The user should be able to select a number of menu items at one time by clicking the multiple items with the selection button before releasing the menu button.

Anticipate conflicting choices that can occur during multiple selection. If the user chooses an item and then chooses one that conflicts with the first, the second item should override the first.

Let Intuition Work for You

Many of the functions described here can be handled for you automatically through Intuition. Let Intuition do the work for you whenever possible rather than coding your own menus.