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I'm making a kind of editor that have tool views (on sides of the main window) and documents being edited. In fact those documents are themselves "views" of a specific document, so you can have several different views of the same document, but it's not really the point. Each "view" has it's own state and manipulations possibles.

I have a menu in the main window, but for some view-specific actions, I'm considering adding a menu in the sub-windows.

What do you think? Would it be bad ergonomy? I'm doubting about such a design because, for example, Adobe products doesn't have separate menus, only menus that change depending on the focus.

+------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| Main Window                                                                  | 
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
| File | Edit | Something |                                                    |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
|Tools          |                                                              |
|---------------|  +-----------------------------------------------------+     |
|               |  | Document View                                       |     |
| [  Brush    ] |  +-----------------------------------------------------+     |
|               |  | Document | Item | Window |                          |     |
| [  Pen      ] |  |-----------------------------------------------------|     |
|               |  |                                                     |     |
| [  Eraser   ] |  |                                                     |     |
|               |  |                                                     |     |
|               |  |                                                     |     |
|               |  |                                                     |     |
|               |  |                                                     |     |
|               |  |                                                     |     |
|               |  |                                                     |     |
|               |  +-----------------------------------------------------+     |
|------------------------------------------------------------------------------|
| Status Bar                                                                   |
+------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

It's still fairly common to have "Document" menus in applications that will adjust settings or make changes to one particular document. I was going to mention Acrobat as @dnbrv did- they definitely used to do this, but seem to have moved away from it in version 10.

"View" menus exist as well, but they tend to deal with showing or hiding particular components of the UI like toolbars and extra panels. So, while your objects are called "views", I wouldn't recommend using that term as the menu label as users may end up confused by what they find there.

If these views are really different layouts of the same data, "Layout" may be a label option for you as well.

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You can go the way of Adobe Acrobat, which has a menu item called Document containing all commands for manipulating the document as opposed to reviewing tools. Having 2 sets of menus will clutter your interface more than confuse users.

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The common menu with an option of disabled actions upon selection will be a better idea than having a sub menu like you mentioned because this will be unnecessarily confusing for a normal user. Rest depends upon the kind of users you're targeting.

If you're targeting some specific class of users and they will get some small training for your editor then it might work but still you'll have to justify why you chose this approach rather than the more established one.

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