The desktop remains central to our everyday work and play, despite all the excitement around tablets, TV’s and phones. So it’s exciting for us to innovate in the desktop too, especially when we find ways to enhance the experience of both heavy “power” users and casual users at the same time. The desktop will be with us for a long time, and for those of us who spend hours every day using a wide diversity of applications, here is some very good news: 12.04 LTS will include the first step in a major new approach to application interfaces.

This work grows out of observations of new and established / sophisticated users making extensive use of the broader set of capabilities in their applications. We noticed that both groups of users spent a lot of time, relatively speaking, navigating the menus of their applications, either to learn about the capabilities of the app, or to take a specific action. We were also conscious of the broader theme in Unity design of leading from user intent. And that set us on a course which led to today’s first public milestone on what we expect will  be a long, fruitful and exciting journey.

The menu has been a central part of the GUI since Xerox PARC invented ’em in the 70’s. It’s the M in WIMP and has been there, essentially unchanged, for 30 years.

Screenshot of the original Macintosh desktop

The original Macintosh desktop, circa 1984, courtesy of Wikipedia

We can do much better!

Say hello to the Head-Up Display, or HUD, which will ultimately replace menus in Unity applications. Here’s what we hope you’ll see in 12.04 when you invoke the HUD from any standard Ubuntu app that supports the global menu:

HUD for 12.04

Snapshot of the HUD in Ubuntu 12.04

The intenterface – it maps your intent to the interface

This is the HUD. It’s a way for you to express your intent and have the application respond appropriately. We think of it as “beyond interface”, it’s the “intenterface”.  This concept of “intent-driven interface” has been a primary theme of our work in the Unity shell, with dash search as a first class experience pioneered in Unity. Now we are bringing the same vision to the application, in a way which is completely compatible with existing applications and menus.

The HUD concept has been the driver for all the work we’ve done in unifying menu systems across Gtk, Qt and other toolkit apps in the past two years. So far, that’s shown up as the global menu. In 12.04, it also gives us the first cut of the HUD.

Menus serve two purposes. They act as a standard way to invoke commands which are too infrequently used to warrant a dedicated piece of UI real-estate, like a toolbar button, and they serve as a map of the app’s functionality, almost like a table of contents that one can scan to get a feel for ‘what the app does’. It’s command invocation that we think can be improved upon, and that’s where we are focusing our design exploration.

As a means of invoking commands, menus have some advantages. They are always in the same place (top of the window or screen). They are organised in a way that’s quite easy to describe over the phone, or in a text book (“click the Edit->Preferences menu”), they are pretty fast to read since they are generally arranged in tight vertical columns. They also have some disadvantages: when they get nested, navigating the tree can become fragile. They require you to read a lot when you probably already know what you want. They are more difficult to use from the keyboard than they should be, since they generally require you to remember something special (hotkeys) or use a very limited subset of the keyboard (arrow navigation). They force developers to make often arbitrary choices about the menu tree (“should Preferences be in Edit or in Tools or in Options?”), and then they force users to make equally arbitrary effort to memorise and navigate that tree.

The HUD solves many of these issues, by connecting users directly to what they want. Check out the video, based on a current prototype. It’s a “vocabulary UI”, or VUI, and closer to the way users think. “I told the application to…” is common user paraphrasing for “I clicked the menu to…”. The tree is no longer important, what’s important is the efficiency of the match between what the user says, and the commands we offer up for invocation.

In 12.04 LTS, the HUD is a smart look-ahead search through the app and system (indicator) menus. The image is showing Inkscape, but of course it works everywhere the global menu works. No app modifications are needed to get this level of experience. And you don’t have to adopt the HUD immediately, it’s there if you want it, supplementing the existing menu mechanism.

It’s smart, because it can do things like fuzzy matching, and it can learn what you usually do so it can prioritise the things you use often. It covers the focused app (because that’s where you probably want to act) as well as system functionality; you can change IM state, or go offline in Skype, all through the HUD, without changing focus, because those apps all talk to the indicator system. When you’ve been using it for a little while it seems like it’s reading your mind, in a good way.

We’ll resurrect the  (boring) old ways of displaying the menu in 12.04, in the app and in the panel. In the past few releases of Ubuntu, we’ve actively diminished the visual presence of menus in anticipation of this landing. That proved controversial. In our defence, in user testing, every user finds the menu in the panel, every time, and it’s obviously a cleaner presentation of the interface. But hiding the menu before we had the replacement was overly aggressive. If the HUD lands in 12.04 LTS, we hope you’ll find yourself using the menu less and less, and be glad to have it hidden when you are not using it. You’ll definitely have that option, alongside more traditional menu styles.

Voice is the natural next step

Searching is fast and familiar, especially once we integrate voice recognition, gesture and touch. We want to make it easy to talk to any application, and for any application to respond to your voice. The full integration of voice into applications will take some time. We can start by mapping voice onto the existing menu structures of your apps. And it will only get better from there.

But even without voice input, the HUD is faster than mousing through a menu, and easier to use than hotkeys since you just have to know what you want, not remember a specific key combination. We can search through everything we know about the menu, including descriptive help text, so pretty soon you will be able to find a menu entry using only vaguely related text (imagine finding an entry called Preferences when you search for “settings”).

There is lots to discover, refine and implement. I have a feeling this will be a lot of fun in the next two years 🙂

Even better for the power user

The results so far are rather interesting: power users say things like “every GUI app now feels as powerful as VIM”. EMACS users just grunt and… nevermind ;-). Another comment was “it works so well that the rare occasions when it can’t read my mind are annoying!”. We’re doing a lot of user testing on heavy multitaskers, developers and all-day-at-the-workstation personas for Unity in 12.04, polishing off loose ends in the experience that frustrated some in this audience in 11.04-10. If that describes you, the results should be delightful. And the HUD should be particularly empowering.

Even casual users find typing faster than mousing. So while there are modes of interaction where it’s nice to sit back and drive around with the mouse, we observe people staying more engaged and more focused on their task when they can keep their hands on the keyboard all the time. Hotkeys are a sort of mental gymnastics, the HUD is a continuation of mental flow.

Ahead of the competition

There are other teams interested in a similar problem space. Perhaps the best-known new alternative to the traditional menu is Microsoft’s Ribbon. Introduced first as part of a series of changes called Fluent UX in Office, the ribbon is now making its way to a wider set of Windows components and applications. It looks like this:

Sample of Microsoft Ribbon

You can read about the ribbon from a supporter (like any UX change, it has its supporters and detractors ;-)) and if you’ve used it yourself, you will have your own opinion about it. The ribbon is highly visual, making options and commands very visible. It is however also a hog of space (I’m told it can be minimised). Our goal in much of the Unity design has been to return screen real estate to the content with which the user is working; the HUD meets that goal by appearing only when invoked.

Instead of cluttering up the interface ALL the time, let’s clear out the chrome, and show users just what they want, when they want it.

Time will tell whether users prefer the ribbon, or the HUD, but we think it’s exciting enough to pursue and invest in, both in R&D and in supporting developers who want to take advantage of it.

Other relevant efforts include Enso and Ubiquity from the original Humanized team (hi Aza &co), then at Mozilla.

Our thinking is inspired by many works of science, art and entertainment; from Minority Report to Modern Warfare and Jef Raskin’s Humane Interface. We hope others will join us and accelerate the shift from pointy-clicky interfaces to natural and efficient ones.

Roadmap for the HUD

There’s still a lot of design and code still to do. For a start, we haven’t addressed the secondary aspect of the menu, as a visible map of the functionality in an app. That discoverability is of course entirely absent from the HUD; the old menu is still there for now, but we’d like to replace it altogether not just supplement it. And all the other patterns of interaction we expect in the HUD remain to be explored. Regardless, there is a great team working on this, including folk who understand Gtk and Qt such as Ted Gould, Ryan Lortie, Gord Allott and Aurelien Gateau, as well as designers Xi Zhu, Otto Greenslade, Oren Horev and John Lea. Thanks to all of them for getting this initial work to the point where we are confident it’s worthwhile for others to invest time in.

We’ll make sure it’s easy for developers working in any toolkit to take advantage of this and give their users a better experience. And we’ll promote the apps which do it best – it makes apps easier to use, it saves time and screen real-estate for users, and it creates a better impression of the free software platform when it’s done well.

From a code quality and testing perspective, even though we consider this first cut a prototype-grown-up, folk will be glad to see this:

Overall coverage rate:
   lines......: 87.1% (948 of 1089 lines)
   functions..: 97.7% (84 of 86 functions)
   branches...: 63.0% (407 of 646 branches)

Landing in 12.04  LTS is gated on more widespread testing.  You can of course try this out from a PPA or branch the code in Launchpad (you will need these two branches). Or dig deeper with blogs on the topic from Ted Gould, Olli Ries and Gord Allott. Welcome to 2012 everybody!

568 Responses to “Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu.”

  1. Another bad idea from Ubuntu: replace menus with the HUD | Chainsaw on a Tire Swing Says:

    […] started getting weird in some pretty user-unfriendly ways. Now Mark Shuttleworth has published a new post on his blog about the future direction of Ubuntu, & boy it’s a doozy: Say hello to the Head-Up […]

  2. Martin Says:

    Good work on continuous innovation. Two things though:

    1. I hope you will start the practice of introducing a “guided tour” of new features with each release. This is important for new and existing users, or those coming from other desktop paradigms.

    2. Mark, as a South African, I wish to see you using your leverage to get more involved in the South African government’s adoption of open source. Goodness knows our tax money has gone into enough proprietary software; it’s time to step up and offer not just a free desktop that the public sector can use, but business software too!

  3. Kenny Strawn Says:

    Have to say, this is definitely a good improvement to Ubuntu. Rather than having to dive and scroll through menus, you can just search for the action you want (even with your voice). Definitely simplifies the whole Ubuntu experience.

  4. TypeCast | Ubuntu HUD, maybe ubuntu finally have made a good addition to the UI | Says:

    […] to the UI 31 Jan 2012 Mark Shuttleworth (The founder of the Ubuntu project) posted on his blog the other day about a coming feature to […]

  5. Ubuntu Slovenija | Uradna spletna stran slovenske skupnosti Linux distribucije Ubuntu | Ubuntu HUD Says:

    […] Vir:http://www.markshuttleworth.com/archives/939 […]

  6. The Dilemma of the Linux Desktop » Linux news Says:

    […] one hand, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth blogged about his intention to replace menus in Unity with a system he called “Head Up Display” […]

  7. Linux Users Will Get A Heads-Up Display Instead Of Menu Tabs. Say What?! » Linux news Says:

    […] than scrolling through a drop-down list to find it, seems elegant and intuitive on the surface. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, awkwardly calls his system an “intenterface” (combining intent and interface). As Silicon Filter explains, “The HUD concept allows users […]

  8. Ryan Says:

    Good idea – a pull-down menu universal interface.
    It will be a very very bad idea if ubuntu gets rid of or limits one’s access to the traditional interfaces. Users won’t go with that.

  9. HUD, la herramienta de Canonical que dará mucho que hablar | Ayuda Linux Says:

    […] Podéis visitar la pagina de Mark Shuttleworth donde explica los detalles de HUB, en este enlace […]

  10. Linux Users Will Get A Heads-Up Display Instead Of Menu Tabs. Say What?! | Toppli Says:

    […] than scrolling through a drop-down list to find it, seems elegant and intuitive on the surface. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, awkwardly calls his system an “intenterface” (combining intent and interface). As Silicon Filter explains, “The HUD concept allows users […]

  11. Linux Users Will Get A Heads-Up Display Instead Of Menu Tabs. Say What?! Says:

    […] than scrolling through a drop-down list to find it, seems elegant and intuitive on the surface. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, awkwardly calls his system an “intenterface” (combining intent and interface). As Silicon Filter explains, “The HUD concept allows users […]

  12. Phil Says:

    Will the horrible soundtrack make it into the final release, or will HUD work silently?

  13. 菜单之死? | 互联网的新鲜事 Says:

    […] Ubuntu 将要探索的新交互方式 HUD,以取代传统的菜单。在《介绍 HUD,与未来的菜单问好》中,他指出,自从 Xerox PARC 在 70 […]

  14. gerlos Says:

    Seems a cool idea, but I’m not sure that we really need it–never though it before now, but I feel that menus as they are now are really useful and easy to use, can’t say if HUD will make me more productive (don’t think so, but I still have to try).

    The lack of discoverability of the HUD is a really bad thing imho. First time I run a new application I don’t know exactly what I can do, and how developers called the actions (or how are them localized in my language!), so menus ad great to become more comfortable not only with the things we can do, but also with the language specific to the app.

    One other consideration: in my experience, I feel a lot easier to use menus when commands are identified by an icon next to them (I recognize the icon even before I read the text), why don’t add this kind of visual aids to usual menus, and to the HUD? (isn’t it too much text-oriented, even in the output?)
    Another thing that helps me a lot when I use applications is when common commands are put in the same place and with the same wordings. I know that if I can save my data, there will be a File -> save command in the menu. This coherence (that should be extended imho) helps me also because makes new and specific commands stand out of the list of the already known commands (we need to learn only what’s different).

    So, before implementing something new, that we can’t know if it will be better or not (we must try), why don’t we do as much as we can to make our old menus better?
    It’s easy:
    – Same actions, when applicable, should always be in the same place in menus, and called with the same name, and identified by the same icon (and with the same keyboard shortcut)
    – I know that someone thinks that it’s not nice, but adding icons to menus make it easier to use them, so please do it!

  15. Dave Says:

    @Ted Gould
    You said: “It will work with any application that can use the global menu, which includes most GTK programs, Qt Programs, etc.”

    What about Java applications???

  16. Matthew Johnson Says:

    I think this looks fantastic – but as a compliment to existing menus, NEVER instead of

    EVER!

  17. Alex Content Says:

    Fantastic concept and brilliant execution [like always in Ubuntu] but will it work also in languages like Hebrew, Arabic and others that are written from right to left?

  18. Leon Says:

    Good Idea BUT!!! There is a categorical mistake

    What of new users, we don’t always know all the options available and actually learn to operate programmes by searching the menu bars and clinking on things just to find out what they do.

    So if options disappear behind a veil usability will decrease unless you are a genius at computers

  19. Emiliano Puddu Says:

    Unity is growing fast and usefull! I hope it will be the “chiave di volta” in IT!

  20. Harold Says:

    Oh please no. Shifting constantly between mouse and keyboard … the whole great thing about a GUI is the “graphical” part. This really introduces the KUI … keyboard user interface. It strikes me like a devolution back to a kind of dressed up command line … a prettified terminal. The whole great thing about a GUI is that you associate a concept with a picture … it’s “intuitive.” This is a concept with a bunch of words … intellectualism. Nope … it’s a step backwards, and will invite the Windinistas to say that Ubuntu is more difficult to use than Windows. It would be great to have as an adjunct to icons, but not as an out-and-out replacement for them. I know you’re trying to carve out a new nuche for Ubuntu … make it more relevant and all … but not like this. Please.

  21. Linux Users Will Get A Heads-Up Display Instead Of Menu Tabs. Say What?! | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] than scrolling through a drop-down list to find it, seems elegant and intuitive on the surface. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s founder, awkwardly calls his system an “intenterface” (combining intent and interface). As Silicon Filter explains, “The HUD concept allows users […]

  22. snowdrop Says:

    The GUI was invented for a reason – to avoid typing. The HUD is an excellent complement but a lousy replacement for the menus mainly because it actually will require the user that knows & remembers the menus to do more work with his hands and move them around more. The HUD’s excellence is mainly there when you are not familiar with the menus and the software has millions of them. Most software doesn’t even fit that description. On the contrary, most would have pretty slim menus, at least the stuff you see used by the average Joe.

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. HUD will never, ever, replace menus successfully since it is – as a replacement – going backwards in development, not onward.

  23. Pragmatist Says:

    I have a whole litany of problems with Unity which boil down to the productivity workstation/server UI is being neglected in favor of the netbook/tablet single application paradigm. Ironically things that save space on a small screen can actually take more space on a large screen, and gloss that looks really cool in a demo can be difficult to read/use in practice.

    Unity complaints:
    – Pop-up menu bar on left side of screen – constantly bump into this when using the firefox back button or other button bar applications.
    – The root menu need a significant amount of work
    – administrative/configuration options are still not complete
    – Sub-selecting from multiple open instances/windows of the same application is awkward
    – Menus should ONLY be moved to the top when the application is maximized… otherwise leave the root menu in place – seriously the multi-window paradigm is broken without this fixed
    – Resizing of standard fonts is missing
    – Too much dependency on Internet access (cloud) with all of its security problems – stand alone should be a first class citizen
    – Lack of menus for browsing available selection of supported applications in an organized fashion – soft links is the right way to support multi-category application launchers
    – Over-dependence on “searching” – results are non-authoritative by nature which is why no one uses Google’s “I feel lucky”.
    – No textual description for launchers even via float over – we can read, we’re not three year old.
    – running application indicator is only marginally useful compare to the window list from classic gnome – perhaps.

    – Don’t through the baby out with the bathwater when trying to create an improved UI paradigm.

  24. Ruben Ploeg Says:

    The feature is convenient but hardly anything new or something that hasn’t been done before. I’ve been using this since Apple added it to OS X Tiger back in 2005. In Mac OS X you can find the menu search field under “Help” or simply hit cmd + ? and start typing away. It’s especially convenient in feature packed applications like Keynote, Final Cut Pro, Photoshop, InDesign etc. when you’re not sure where something is located. For frequently used actions I still prefer keyboard shortcuts.

  25. Matt Says:

    Please debug heavily and run some user interface tests before adopting this. The most productive environments have the fewest steps required to get the job done. That’s why modal editing in vi or it’s equivalent in emacs is so powerful. I get annoyed when I have to go through multiple clicks to do something simple (e.g. switch desktops).

    However I find dash to be completely useless in ubuntu. I can not remember the names of the ever changing applications to get the job done. Heck typing “mail” in dash doesn’t even bring up thunderbird. (It does work in synapse however). Moreover the file search capability doesn’t seem to work on files the system has never processed. Additionally to get to file search or your application menus require some very confusing multiple clicks on poorly documented icons. I recommend keeping a most recently used list or some way to quickly browse the menu tree. Please don’t expect anyone to remember that cp is copy and mv is move or that thunderbird is email, or gimp is an image editor etc.

  26. Shuttleworth presenta HUD, un menú para todo Says:

    […] Tweet En su blog, Mark Shuttleworth nos presenta lo que según él mismo describe como “el futuro de los […]

  27. David Ball Says:

    I’ve used Unity since it first came out. The first version I did not like, the recent one with the 3D support was better, but still not enough to persuade me from using Gnome Shell instead. I see though now, this HUD looks awesome! I am excited to get to try it out. I may finally switch to Unity. Note though, I think you need to retain options for a more traditional user experience as well. Now you have split the audience again: there are those that want their GNOME 2 back, those that love Unity as it is, and those that will love the HUD. Be sure not to alienate the base you built over the last two revisions of Unity. Great work! 🙂

  28. Mark Shuttleworth Unveils New Head-Up Display for Ubuntu 12.04 – - Tech News AggregatorTech News Aggregator Says:

    […] Every time I write about Ubuntu and its (not-so) new Unity interface, I see lots and lots of comments decrying it as useless, an abomination, the worst thing to ever happen to computers, etc. Personally, I’m not so flummoxed by it, but there’s no denying that Unity has been a divise addition to Canonical’s flagship Linux distribution. The choice to move application menus up to the global bar at the top of the screen has been frustrating to many, and a lot of power users find Unity too mouse-intensive. Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu’s Self-Appointed Benevloent Dictator For Life, yesterday unveiled the next step in the Unity evolution: the Head-Up Display. […]

  29. MamiyaOtaru Says:

    wish the HUD would show hotkeys next to entries as the normal menu does. I use them frequently, and they are faster than typing in part of a word and selecting an entry. Typing “undo” instead of ctrl-v all the time would bet incredibly annoying. I realize you aren’t disabling them, but making them harder to discover is next to the same thing

  30. Bobaloo Says:

    You need to learn to conjugate, Mark! “Lead” is not “led” unless it’s the noun chemically represented by “Pb”. Your sentence should read “[a]nd that set us on a course which led …”. Why should I take you seriously when you’re to dependent on a spellchecker?

  31. Ubuntu 12.04 Precise Pangolin Updates: The HUD will Replace Application Menus | LinuxNov Says:

    […] Source “Introducing the HUD. Say hello to the future of the menu“. […]

  32. Menu之死? Says:

    […] Ubuntu 将要探索的新交互方式 HUD,以取代传统的菜单。在《介绍 HUD,与未来的菜单问好》中,他指出,自从 Xerox PARC 在 70 […]

  33. TJ Says:

    Mark – I’m sad to see you backing down under pressure and allowing menus to still exist:-)

    It’s hard to see how people will not leave Ubuntu for at least *somethingelseBuntu, another distro or another os. Most of my friends and I are switching to tablets for day to day tasks. Both android and iOS seem to be ahead as far as UI goes. Good search capability and VR is there too. I only use desktop for tasks that require a lot of computing power – playing games:-) Photoshop and video editing. And my tablet will be competing with my desktop even more with introduction of cloud services and cs6 by adobe… One more thing – please don’t try to imitate St. J. and lock us in perhaps genius innovations. People don’t always want to be told what’s best for them and how to do things. Please stop sticking people, who trusted you, with default and only choices like unity and now hud. In my opinion you should quit ditro business and just concentrate on designing UIs. It seems like your efforts are being spread too thin.
    Sorry if it sounded too negative but please understand that things like unity wasn’t just “controversial” for many people – it was a disaster and a big let down…

  34. TJ Says:

    By the way not using real email because of security in the comment form…

  35. Ubuntu moves beyond the desktop with new TV interface, menu-killing navigation system | A51Tech.com Says:

    […] a new display interface deserves just as much attention. Canonical’s Mark Shuttleworth recently blogged about the change, called the Head-up Display (or HUD) that does away with the menu and tries to […]

  36. francesco44 Says:

    HELLO FOLKS….

    EVERYBODY SAYS “HURRAH” FOR CINNAMON DESKTOP OF CLEM & MINT

    ALL BAD GUYS MEET THERE

    AND MARK SHOULD MAKE IT AN OPTION FOR THE NEXT LTS….OTHERWISE HE WILL STAY WITH A VERY LITTLE CROWD…

    BEST WISHES FOR HUD AND UNITY ANYWAY

    CONTRARY TO MARK….I AM NEVER SURE OF DETAINING THE “TRUTH”

    HURRAH FOR CINNAMON….AS OUR LIFESAVER….US POOR RETROGRADES

  37. francesco44 Says:

    Beside….

    There is few things the interface designers at Canonical seem to ignore totally: our brain is divided in two…the LEFT brain….and the RIGHT brain….There is a bridge between these two sides of the brain called the “callous” body.

    As everybody knows (well almost everybody concerned by GUI design)…the LEFT brain, specialized in language processing, is dominant….because we, humans, are a speaking species. And the RIGHT brain is specialized in the treatment of shapes, forms, space etc…. (I recommend the opus of Betty Edwards..on this subject)

    It is also established that the right brain is much more quick and multitasking than the left brain….otherwise we would not be able to drive anything (bike, car, plane….) and avoid dangerous situations. Thanksfully…the right brain is in command in many critical situations.

    The mouse, icons, pre-established menus are sollicitating THE RIGHT BRAIN….The “HUD” is adapted to the LEFT BRAIN….so very slow…without any doubt…There is an exception with the “command line” who is like a second language for professionals who masters its vocabulary and grammar perfectly, being in that case faster than amateurs using mouses, icons and menus.

    The “mouse”, “icons”, “menus” was strongly linked to instinct and natural ways of organizing things in space…This is why it was such a huge success…in the 6 mont following the introduction of Mac OS.

    It is not difficult from these arguments to see why HUD might be a failure…Once again…I do not pretend to hold the truth…(because of the exceptionnal efficiency of the command line…but only for professionals)

    But I suggest to Mark…If he has some brain left (bad joke)….to think deeply to these questions….

    Best regards anyway

  38. Todd H. Says:

    Hands on keyboard instead of off on the mouse… aways a good idea. Saves bunches of time. Thanks Ubuntu Team for keeping on pushing the UI!

  39. Ubiquam Says:

    I am using Ubuntu with avesome. Memory consumption, only 4% of 2 GB. Much faster and more convenient.

  40. Forrest Leeson Says:

    Consider two computerized maps.

    One is like a normal map, save that — once I specify I want to go to Peoria — it hides all the roads that don’t lead to various Peorias.

    The other starts as a completely blank sheet which reveals those roads once I make that specification.

    Which gives the map-reader a better idea of the structure of the area? is better at showing compatible or similarly interesting destinations? The former, I suggest; but the latter is more like the HUD concept described.

    The general idea of menus is to surface every function in the program — compromised by hierarchical organization in which things get lost (is it in Edit or Tools? in a submenu?)

    So why not flatten the entire menu structure into a searchable scrollbox, which instead of revealing matches hides non-matches. The question “Is it Preferences? or Settings? or Configuration? or…” is moot, since one can just scroll through the whole shebang and find out: by default everything is shown rather than hidden.

    Of course, the best of both worlds is to have both worlds; a checkbox to switch from Hide Non-hits to Show Hits would do nicely.

  41. Kenny Strawn Says:

    It seems as though that the version of Unity in 12.04 is *newer* than the HUD version. Please fix this!

  42. Frederico Araujo Mendes Says:

    Unity Concept Mockup for Ubuntu 12.10. Hello, I did mockup video , I hope you enjoy. http://youtu.be/JgZ_IEx7Zfg?hd=1

  43. Eric Says:

    So basically the intent here is to make a clumsy system slightly less so by asking users to stop, type & click? Sounds…clumsy.

  44. Richard Says:

    If this is the future of Linux, I’m fleeing back to Windows.

    Keep note that devices with virtual keyboards (like tablets, keyboardless appliances…) are gaining prominence, therefore HUD would pretty much cripple them, compared to keeping the menu/mouse-driven paradigm.

  45. Sameer Verma Says:

    Presumably, at some point HUD will meet speech and it will be like Picard asking for “Tea, black” 🙂

  46. Ubuntu Linux dumps menus, replaces them with a search box | Install Ubuntu Says:

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  47. HUD | Push Design Says:

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  48. Adam Says:

    I understand the issue — the bloated ribbons of MS Office were why I swapped to gedit+pdflatex in Linux in the first place. But the Application Menus are not entirely redundant with the HUD. The Dash and HUD both allow you to quickly open and control apps, but they’re not useful at all in exploring what capabilities you can actually access. Ironically, it’s entirely contrary to the Ubuntu theme of “light” — a newbie is left to literally groping about in their apps menu and app menus, trying to locate whatever they’re looking for. If you know your software well enough, it’s truly wonderful to be able to access it with just a few keystrokes — that’s exactly why the terminal is so useful — but the keyboard-based terminal/Dash/HUD way of doing things just isn’t useful for everyone all the time.

    I like the metaphor of restaurant menus that someone brought up earlier. It’s great to have the familiarity to order right off the bat from a familiar restaurant, but that doesn’t make offering a menu any less of a necessity. A newbie will still need the menu in order to know what the restaurant actually serves, and even a regular may want to try something a bit different once in a while.

  49. Forrest Leeson Says:

    So what’s the equivalent of “ls /usr/bin” going to be?

  50. Nine Rules for Designing a Linux Desktop | Install Ubuntu Says:

    […] why Mark Shuttleworth’s Heads Up Interface (HUD) is unlikely to replace the menus. Menus are ancient and occasionally unwieldy. But, as Shuttleworth […]