[Mageia-dev] freedesktop spec and categories

andre999 andr55 at laposte.net
Sat Feb 26 02:09:04 CET 2011

Michael Scherer a écrit :
> Le jeudi 24 février 2011 à 20:30 +0200, Anssi Hannula a écrit :
>> On 24.02.2011 18:57, Tux99 wrote:
>>> Quote: Michael Scherer wrote on Thu, 24 February 2011 13:27
>>>> Le jeudi 24 février 2011 à 10:06 +0100, Samuel Verschelde a écrit :
>>>>> I don't think so. Several Mandriva releases ago, there was no such
>>>>> "More"
>>>>> entry, but real sub-categories in the menu. Then it changed for
>>>>> what we have
>>>>> now, but that wasn't a change in the .desktop files, rather a menu
>>>>> configuration. I guess that was a decision meant to bring
>>>>> "simplicity",
>>>> Yes, and that's a choice that can be backed by several studies on the
>>>> subject, the working memory have been estimated to be 7 chunks of
>>>> information ( between 5 and 9 is a wildly accepted range ). I remember
>>>> having seen a studie saying that it was less than this, but I cannot
>>>> find it ( and it was on slashdot, so this may have been wrong ).
>>>> So presenting only ~7 chunks of information ( ie ~7 items in menu ) is
>>>> better according to the current cognitive model used, such as this one
>>>> :
>>>> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_information_processor_model

What these studies refer to is how much information the average person 
can keep in short-term memory.  Many such studies seem to indicate 3-5 
items (depending on the person), others give as much as 7-9.
The variance is probably related to the complexity of information used 
in the study, or how it was presented.  (And maybe also whether the 
subjects were fully awake at the time :) )

This doesn't relate to menu display, which is related to the ability to 
find what one wants in reading a list.
By default the Mandriva menus are displayed in alphabetical order, which 
is useful to anyone familiar with the latin alphabet.

In the past (it could have been "Mandrake" or even "RedHat"), when there 
were too many items in a menu page to display in a single column, the 
overflow items were displayed in a second column.  I don't remember if 
that was a special configuration, but I found it much better than the 
scrolling that we can encounter otherwise, when there are too many items 
for one column.
And certainly much better than an additional submenu.
I see this overflow column concept as being much like tabbed browsing. 
Until one has seen it, it can be difficult to appreciate the advantage. 
But once one has tried it, it becomes almost essential.

>> Eh, isn't that a reason to switch *back* to the two-level system, not to
>> keep the current system?
> I do not think so. What chunk of informations do you take in account ?
>> I have about 15-30 entries in everyone of Internet, Office, Audio/Video,
>> Tools, Tools->System submenus.
> By submenu, you mean the "more" submenu ? I fail to understand what do
> you have exactly, can you provides a screenshot ?

Those menus all all submenus (or submenus of submenus) of the main menu 
page.  (Levels 2 and 3, if you prefer.)

>> With a two-level system it would be considerably less and closer to the
>> ~7 you mention.
> Depend, what is the process that you are wanting to improve ?
> ( and closer is not good enough, even if 15 is nearer to 7 than 20,
> that's still too much and a different process is used ( according to
> studies ))

I don't know of any study that says that 7 or 9 is too many items for a 
_menu_.  Very few menu pages have that few items.
However, I do see a disadvantage of having to scroll a menu with too 
many items for one fully visible column.  Whence my suggestion of 
reverting to the 2-column (or overflow column) menu display as described 

my 2 cents :)

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