Libreoffice Human Interface Guidelines: The second step

The Libreoffice Human Interface Guidlines (HIG) have been given a new lease on life. In this posting we introduce the impact of two primary personas on guidelines about menu bars and tool bars.

lo_logoAlmost a month has passed and it’s time for an update. The Libreoffice UX team finished two more guidelines that are introduced in this posting. The interesting point is not what the guidelines constitutes in detail but the impact of the previously defined articfacts. Because we introduced two primary personas for whose Libreoffice is being developed we need to address this fact as well in every design and workflow decision. And of course the guidelines have to reflect the duality likewise.

Menu bar

The menu bar provides access to all functions using submenus or cascading menus to structure the content. Users like the Libreoffice persona Eve refer frequently to the menu bar, especially when they are seeking a function for which they know of no other interface. Ensuring that menus are well organized, are worded clearly, and behave correctly is crucial to the user’s ability to explore and access the functionality of the application.

Learn more about menu bars at Libreoffice HIG: Menu bar.

Tool bar

A tool bar is a graphical presentation of commands optimized for fast access. Typically, a tool bar contains buttons that correspond to items in an application’s menu, providing direct access to application’s most frequently used functions for both novice users such as Benjamin who relies on this preselection and experts like Eve. A good menu bar is a comprehensive catalog of all the available top-level commands, whereas a good tool bar gives quick, convenient access to frequently used commands.

Learn more about tool bars at Libreoffice HIG: Tool bar.

Next Steps

The human interface guidelines basically intends to optimize UX decisions. It aim is to improve the experience for the users by making application interfaces more intuitive, learnable, and consistent. This posting is a life sign and should make our progress transparent, on the one hand, but is also an indicator what impact two primary persona have on the definition of a consistent user experience.

The next steps include guidelines on context menus, sidebars, and dialog layout. We will keep you updated. And as always we are interested in your feedback.

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