W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > November 2004

[whatwg] Web Applications 1.0 and Menu Labels

From: Matthew Thomas <mpt@myrealbox.com>
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 23:25:20 +1300
Message-ID: <CFBABDCA-3C70-11D9-9F60-000A95AD3972@myrealbox.com>
On 22 Nov, 2004, at 7:26 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
>
> On Sun, 19 Sep 2004, Matthew Raymond wrote:
> ...
>>    |disabled| - You may not always want a submenu label enabled.
>
> It's my understanding that disabling a menu is considered poor form,  
> and that it is better to disable all the children. (mpt?)
> ...

The terms "disable" and "disabled" are ambiguous for a menu/submenu  
title, because making it "disabled" as in dimmed (grayed out) does not  
make it "disabled" as in unopenable. So when all the items in a  
menu/submenu are unavailable, it's best to make the menu itself  
apparently unavailable too. Then people won't waste time by opening the  
menu just in case there is an available item inside, but they can still  
open the menu to explore the scope of the program if they want to.

*   Windows: "If all items in a menu are disabled, disable its menu
     title. If you disable a menu item or its title, the user can still
     browse to it or choose it."
      
<http://msdn.microsoft.com/library/default.asp?url=/library/en-us/ 
dnwue/html/ch08b.asp>

*   Mac OS X: "If all of the items in a menu or submenu are unavailable,
     the menu or submenu title is dimmed. The user can still open the
     menu, but all of its items are dimmed to indicate that these items
     are not available in the present context."
      
<http://developer.apple.com/documentation/UserExperience/Conceptual/ 
OSXHIGuidelines/index.html#//apple_ref/doc/uid/20000957>

Given that, I approve of giving menus and submenus a "disabled"  
attribute that would make all their descendant items unavailable  
without forgetting the erstwhile availability of individual descendant  
items. This attribute would relieve applications from having to  
remember the particular subset of descendant items that were previously  
available, during those occasions when they are all temporarily being  
made unavailable (for example, a "Format" menu while focus is  
temporarily in a plain-text field secondary to the main rich-text  
area).

-- 
Matthew Thomas
http://mpt.net.nz/
Received on Monday, 22 November 2004 02:25:20 UTC

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