Goodbye menu, hello HUD (heads up display)

By , ITworld |  Software, Canonical, interface

Mark Shuttleworth

Mark Shuttleworth delivering his keynote at Linuxtag 2006 in Wiesbaden, Germany.

flickr/Martin Schmitt - stoppedphoto.com

Ubuntu plans to do away with menus for an "intent-driven interface" modeled on search.

That's according to Canonical leader Mark Shuttleworth, and the Heads Up Display (HUD) should appear in the next release, 12.04. It's not a proper heads up display that floats in the air like in some military jets, but an overlay on your application. HUD will learn your preferences and use fuzzy matching to supply your intent when confused by typos or incorrect commands. The next step, of course, will be voice commands.

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Giving a nod to Microsoft's Ribbon interface, Shuttleworth says it's an interface space hog, but is an interesting way to approach updating the decades-old desktop metaphor interface. And menus will still be there in Ubuntu 12.04, so users can ease into the new model. Because of research like this, Shuttleworth believes the next two years "will be a lot of fun."

Way cool

Awesome concept, and I look forward to trying it out.
Chris on markshuttleworth.com

While I'm unimpressed with a lot of the Ubuntu GUI innovations, bolting on some searchability into application GUIs is an absolutely awesome feature we should've had a decade ago.
Pxtl on reddit.com

I for one love the fact that canonical are pushing forward a linux desktop experience in a way nobobdy else is
daleharvey on news.ycombinator.com

Questions

How do you discover menu items that you don’t know they exist?
BigWhale on markshuttleworth.com

Why does everyone think I want to type to find something in the menu?
MainlyTed on reddit.com

Does it bother anyone else that this is actually the opposite of an actual heads-up display? The whole point of a HUD is that the user is given information without going out of their way to get it.
amalcon on news.ycombinator.com

Little digs

It’s nice to see the desktop catching up to Emacs.
James on markshuttleworth.com

This is one thing I wish the linux design team would steal from the Mac. In every mac app with a menu the help menu's first item is a little search box
arcterex on reddit.com

Ubuntu is attempting to make things better, not just copy the other desktop OSen. Maybe it'll work, maybe it won't. But the fact it's not what you immediately expect currently doesn't guarantee it to fail.
mst on news.ycombinator.com

Can one use a desktop interface metaphor on a tablet?

Poll

Ubuntu's heads up display. Cool or drool?
Ubuntu plans to do away with menus and move to an "intent-driven interface" modeled on search. Is it an innovation whose time has come or just trying to fix what isn't broken?
Way cool
25% (1 vote)
I'll believe it when I see it
75% (3 votes)
Total Votes: 4

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