I recently added 'Ribbons' to my application(for experts, as browser-app) which look and work the same way as you know from 'Windows-8' or MS-Word; eg. showing tabs, quick-launch buttons and a expand/collapse toggle.

Should I remove now my classic top-bar main-menu or leave it optionally to the user? I guess I should leave both visible and combine both concepts. For instance, the main-menu always shows all actions, whilst the Ribbons only show the more used actions, right?

Thank you!


This is how it looks when all toolbars and menus are shown:

enter image description here

As far I understood, Ribbons have been developed to discover new functions in MicroSoft products and are somehow no real replacement for a classic main-menu. I also understand that Ribbons work fine for showing the more frequent used actions, and enable customization of these.

You can see in the picture that the main-menu, the Ribbon and the local action-toolbar(file browser) might overwhelm the user.

1 Answer 1


You could hide the classic menu and toggle its display between hidden and shown when the alt key is pressed (just like Microsoft does).

Screen real-estate is important. If the classic menu would be used less, then removing it or hiding is a valid decision. You should always work towards reducing the cognitive (visual) load on the application itself. The more options you place on the screen, the harder it is to find something asap.

Since the Ribbon menu is just like MS-Word and windows 8, your users would be familiar with the press alt to display classic menu feature. Its a popular convention among windows OS users You could always list this feature in the information/help section.

With Alt function, you could add shortcut keys to menus. Keyboard users would love you for that. Personally, I find keyboard shortcuts a lot faster to work with than mouse/touch interactions.

  • yeah, I guessed so. Thank you. I am considering to accept it soon, still waiting for others :-) Jul 13, 2015 at 15:36
  • I agree that the <kbd>alt</kbd> toggle is the best idea, but I think you're overestimating how many users know about it. Even I as a poweruser often forgot about it (before switching away from Microsoft Office entirely). Aug 24, 2015 at 16:31

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