User Experience Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for user experience researchers and experts. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

The Microsoft Ribbon is a like a tabbed "sheet" of UX icons. It's basically an iconified, horizontal version of an always-open menu.

Is there a general name for a group of UX buttons or icons, that can be switched out?

I'm thinking Sheet, Form, Window, none of these seem right.

They don't have to be concentrated at the top of the screen -- they can be spread over the screen, like an Apple UIActionSheet

enter image description here

share|improve this question

This would be a menu. The image would specifically be a an Options Menu.

From there it get's less specific and more descriptive. You could call it a Modal Options Menu or a SlideUp Menu for something that incorporates a description of the accompanied animation.

As far as I know, there is no standardized word or label.

share|improve this answer
up vote 3 down vote accepted

After thinking about this for some time, I thought panel.

enter image description here

Besides "bunch of speakers", a panel generally means a collection of buttons and widgets you can interact with to control things.

Microsoft hijacked the term control panel to mean System settings widgets, but a control panel is precisely this.

share|improve this answer
Another term that comes to mind is dashboard. – bobobobo Mar 30 '13 at 14:33

There are probably various terminologies to describe a group of UX buttons or icons, so any one word isn't necessarily correct.

I would most likely refer to a group of common buttons in an area of the screen as a toolbar.

share|improve this answer

UIActionSheet is more of a way to communicate how the menu is presented. UIAltertView, for example, is presented modally, but could have the same elements as the UIActionSheet.

Having said that, if you are looking for the most generic way to describe a grouping of function/method calls the user can interact with to make the system do something, I would go with "menu" - the details deal more with presentation than anything else - modal, non-model, drop-down, toolbar (menu/navigation), site navigation (menus), etc. So, in the case of a "toolbar menu" - the presentation is generally icons with optional text (the toolbar above the Stack form, for example).

Window, is a method of presentation. Sheet, is a method of presentation (in the case of UIActionSheet - it comes up from the bottom, similar to a UIView presented modally; however, does not, generally, cover the entire display and, to the best of my knowledge, cannot have scrolling capability). Form is generally used to specify a way for users to input data/information - name, address, etc. for a contact "form".

I'm not sure what you mean by "switched out". Hope that's helpful.

share|improve this answer

I think in terms of programming, it is usually referred to as a 'Container'. This includes anything from a menu, panel, pane or something that holds a collection of items. Of course, depending on the type of UI Element it might have different names like a Button Group for radio or checkbox button.

share|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.