Proposal by Andreas Bartel

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Design Proposal "Tabbed & Menu-Based Navigation"

The following design proposal is part of the collection of design proposals for “Accessing Functionality”, which is part of Project Renaissance.

Summary and Status

This slides contain general considerations of how to solve the navigation problem regarding global, local and contextual navigation. Two basic approaches are considered. Tabbed-navigation and a menu-based approach with contextual navigation. The main problem we are currently faced with is the organization of functionality. Menu and toolbars still have their strength. Menus, for instance, are still a pretty efficient way of presenting all available functionality to a user. However, this requires a proper organization of the menus and menus are per se not efficient for frequent usage. Toolbars were designed to offer access to 20% of the most important functionality (80/20 rule). This requires focus and knowledge of the 20%. Overall, the are always trade-offs. Tabbed-navigation seems to offer a more promising solution. Let's see how far we can push the concepts.

Status: Request for Comments

After you consider the comments and questions in the comments section, revise your proposal for completeness and understandability. When you feel your proposal is ready for evaluation, please change the status above to “Proposal Complete”.


Please add your main “wireframe” mockup. For example: A mockup which shows the functionality for adding a slide in Impress.

ProjectRenaissance AndreasBartel MenuNavigation.png
ProjectRenaissance AndreasBartel TabbedNavigation.png

Additional Material and Mockups

Author or Team Working on This Proposal

Author / Team Member Contact ( login name, used for email)
Andreas Bartel Andba


I like the idea to move away from the standard "File - Edit - Format - ..." menu list. My understanding is, that you want to substitute this with the list of "Entry x"? Is it a series like "Slideshow" - "Slide" - "Object" etc? Please elaborate further. --Hillerd 19:33, 12 May 2009 (UTC)

It is actually not about WHAT is inside but more about HOW one can organize any content to enable efficient access. So the focus of the mock-ups presented here is to explore some possibilities that we have at hand to structure the content and make it "accessible" for the user. The principles behind very much rely on users' abilities to reactivate knowledge they have acquired in other contexts and to apply that kwowledge to the situation at hand. The question of WHAT goes WHERE is a whole other story. Unfortunately we did not begin to think about the required content in the first place. The task of defining an appropriate information architecture that reflects essential functionality that we should focus on to serve particular user goals has to be accomplished yet. Hence, the actual structuring, organizing and labeling of information that helps our users find and use required functionality would be the next step. So, to come back to your question, the content could be anything as long as the headers appriately reflect the group's intent/content/functionality. --Andba 18:30, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Migration of users seams to be a key thing everyone is overlooking. It is important to ask yourself if you only know OpenOffice 3.1 and you landed in this new interface how would you cope. Renaissance is such a key word most of you are failing to understand it. Renaissance is old with new. Not just new. Name of project was kinda chosen to remind designers about the importance of migration. Basically where is the old to make user migration as painless as able.--Oiaohm 23:54, 13 May 2009 (UTC)

Sorry Oiaohm, I really don't get your point here. Did you read my comment before? What do you mean specifically that is being overlooked? I am certainly aware of what the termn Renaissance means and why we have chosen it for this project. I guess you should get a bit more explicit about what you think we don't understand. Thanks. --Andba 23:30, 14 May 2009 (UTC)

Hi Andreas, some questions regarding the brainstorming ideas...
  • Q1, general: What does “vertical grouping” mean? Is this related to space or the objects?
  • File “Menu based navigation”:
    • Q2, page 2: How do the menu entries (Entry 1 …) and the Groups (Group 1 …) relate to each other? Does clicking on a menu entry change the groups view? Are the menu entries “usual” dropdowns? Can you please provide an example?
    • Q3, page 6: Does extending the groups mean, that the content will be re-positioned, too? Example: The most common entries are shown in the reduced Group 2. If the group is expanded, are the entries located at the same position or moved at the most outer position (e.g. left)?
  • File “Tabbed-Navigation”: No questions :-)

Thanks a lot! --ChristophNoack 16:03, 22 May 2009 (UTC)

Hi Christoph. Here are my answers.
  • Q1: Vertical grouping simply means that you separate groups by a vertical e.g. line or any other visually salient separator.
  • Q2: Since it is a menu-based approach, the menu entries behave as current menus in OOo. However, the size and the organization of content in the drop-down menus may be diffent. That is something to figure out. Groups should provide access to 20% of functionality that is used most frequently (80/20 rule).
  • Q3: I don't know if you are familiar with the current ribbon implementation but one thing that is not that well solved there is that some ribbons have a small icon in the bottom right corner which triggers old-school dialogs with more functionality. We could solve that problem by extending a group over the available space while exchanging the content with other features. So, no repositioning but exchanging of content. --Andba 13:30, 125 May 2009 (UTC)
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