5 responses to “Circular UIs are Fun”
The argument for speed/efficiency with respect to Pie Menus/Radial Menus just comes out of Fitts’s Law–cursor only has to move in a direction, not a specific distance. The further argument is that people only have to be aware of–and remember–a specific direction, thus making it much easier to use spatial memory for the items within the menu.
As far as speed being a dubious measure of usability–in this case, at least, I think it’s more suggestive of the Pie Menu’s power for expert use cases. Hence seeing them in games and some professional software (I believe one of the 3D software packages uses them extensively).
Certainly no one is saying “with learning people are faster with pie menus than linear menus, therefore they’re more usable.” I think it’s more a matter of “when speed and efficiency count and people will be using this small set of actions repeatedly, it’s faster and more efficient for an expert user to use a pie menu than a linear menu.”
None of this is speaking to what the motivations were for the choice of Pie Menus and other circular UIs within Sugar UI, of course.
I think it is interesting that they chose to use the circular navigation, I am also a little concerned about it’s introduction to developing countries and the rest of the world. This form of navigation puts the user at the center of the universe. While this form of relating to the world is very familiar to us in our western context, I worry that it will break down the understanding that the world could be viewed through the eyes of the community – which is how a good portion of the world interacts. I am talking about the navigation, the way people will understand the world through this tool, not the tool itself.
I know a lot of criticism has been written about the introduction of this tool, but I would argue that it is will be the way this tool teaches people to understand the world that will be it’s ultimate success or downfall.
The kids are OK.
Kids these days.
When I was young…
The children will get it, if they don’t like it they will mutate it into something they do.