what would you call this, a submenu, subtab, or something else?

6 Jun 2008 - 2:56pm
5 years ago
10 replies
4709 reads
jason zietz
2007

Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find
anything related in the archives. I checked my Designing Interfaces
book as well and came up empty, so now I seek the guidance of the
collective.

http://anxiousplanet.com/ixda/SubmenuOrSubnav.gif

What would you call "Current Design" in this example? Clearly "Design"
is a tab, but "Current Design" and its siblings don't look like tabs,
though they do *behave* like tabs. I started calling them "subtabs" but
then switched to "submenus" and now I can't decide between either or
something else altogether.

Thanks!

jason

Comments

6 Jun 2008 - 3:10pm
bminihan
2007

Many portal applications call those "pages", for lack of any better
term to describe them. For some reason, many folks have a very
difficult time "seeing" them, so whatever you call them, make them
obvious and provide alternative methods to get to them if people can't
remember they're there.

Bryan Minihan
bjminihan at nc.rr.com

On Jun 6, 2008, at 3:56 PM, Jason Zietz wrote:

> Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find
> anything related in the archives. I checked my Designing Interfaces
> book as well and came up empty, so now I seek the guidance of the
> collective.
>
> http://anxiousplanet.com/ixda/SubmenuOrSubnav.gif
>
> What would you call "Current Design" in this example? Clearly
> "Design" is a tab, but "Current Design" and its siblings don't look
> like tabs, though they do *behave* like tabs. I started calling
> them "subtabs" but then switched to "submenus" and now I can't
> decide between either or something else altogether.
>
> Thanks!
>
> jason
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
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6 Jun 2008 - 3:12pm
Jack L. Moffett
2005

On Jun 6, 2008, at 3:56 PM, Jason Zietz wrote:

> Clearly "Design" is a tab, but "Current Design" and its siblings
> don't look like tabs, though they do *behave* like tabs.

A "tab" is a pattern that is quite obviously based on physical tabs
used in books, filing cabinets, etc. For that reason, to be called a
tab, it should retain the visual affordances of physical tabs.
Therefore, they aren't tabs.

> I started calling them "subtabs" but then switched to "submenus"
> and now I can't decide between either or something else altogether.

Menus, again named after physical objects, present a list of options
to select from. Therefore, they aren't menus.

> What would you call "Current Design" in this example?

A link?

Jack

Jack L. Moffett
Interaction Designer
inmedius
412.459.0310 x219
http://www.inmedius.com

When I am working on a problem,
I never think about beauty.
I think only of how to solve the problem.

But when I have finished,
if the solution is not beautiful,
I know it is wrong.

- R. Buckminster Fuller

6 Jun 2008 - 3:27pm
jason zietz
2007

A bit of clarification: I'm writing instructions, hence the need to know
what to call these things.

>> What would you call "Current Design" in this example?
>
> A link?
>

That could work, but a link could be anywhere on the page. I could call
it a "Navigation Link", but that sounds awkward.

6 Jun 2008 - 3:32pm
Scott McDaniel
2007

My humble recommendation would be navigation (links) and subnavigation (links),
since tab or no, that's what they are and do, right?

It's what I call such elements in most documentation since it allows
flexibility of use
if the design turns away from presenting them as tabs.

Scott

On Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 3:56 PM, Jason Zietz <mydogisarobot at gmail.com> wrote:
> Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find anything
> related in the archives. I checked my Designing Interfaces book as well and
> came up empty, so now I seek the guidance of the collective.
>
> http://anxiousplanet.com/ixda/SubmenuOrSubnav.gif
>
> What would you call "Current Design" in this example? Clearly "Design" is a
> tab, but "Current Design" and its siblings don't look like tabs, though they
> do *behave* like tabs. I started calling them "subtabs" but then switched
> to "submenus" and now I can't decide between either or something else
> altogether.
>
> Thanks!
>
> jason

--
'Life' plus 'significance' = magic. ~ Grant Morrison

6 Jun 2008 - 5:57pm
Jared M. Spool
2003

On Jun 6, 2008, at 3:56 PM, Jason Zietz wrote:

> What would you call "Current Design" in this example?

Invisible.

Jared

6 Jun 2008 - 6:35pm
Dave Meeker
2008

I don't know if I understand why we often try to find special
descriptions to call things.
The more that Rich interfaces become common, designers will make
attempts to create interactions and UI elements that "work" to solve
"the problem".
In the example you sent, it looks to me like a series of "tabs" that
have menu items under each tab.
I assume you see the same thing. No? Wouldn't that, then, be the
description of what it is?

As UI's become more custom and we are not always forced into using
out-of-the-box UI components and patterns, the community is going to
have a consistently harder time describing what "something is" or what
to call something specifically.

I'd suggest you just call it like it is, and not waste a lot of time
trying to define it under a specific "official" description.

dave

On Fri, Jun 6, 2008 at 3:56 PM, Jason Zietz <mydogisarobot at gmail.com> wrote:
> Apologies if this has been discussed before, but I couldn't find anything
> related in the archives. I checked my Designing Interfaces book as well and
> came up empty, so now I seek the guidance of the collective.
>
> http://anxiousplanet.com/ixda/SubmenuOrSubnav.gif
>
> What would you call "Current Design" in this example? Clearly "Design" is a
> tab, but "Current Design" and its siblings don't look like tabs, though they
> do *behave* like tabs. I started calling them "subtabs" but then switched
> to "submenus" and now I can't decide between either or something else
> altogether.
>
> Thanks!
>
> jason
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>

--
Any fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It
takes a touch of genius - and a lot of courage - to move in the
opposite direction. -- Albert Einstein

6 Jun 2008 - 8:23pm
Matt Attaway
2004

>I don't know if I understand why we often try to find special
>descriptions to call things.

Having a commonly understood set of terminology makes life infinitely
easier during meetings. I find that half of the roadblocks we face
during design meetings are caused by terminology misunderstandings.
It's one of the reasons I have a copy of Jennifer Tidwell's next to
my desk at all times; it may not be the bible of terminology, but it
is at least a nice, accessible reference I can point people at.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29942

7 Jun 2008 - 7:13pm
Itamar Medeiros
2006

I guess a good approach could be addressing the parts at their
information architecture level: TOP LEVEL navigation, SECOND LEVEL
navigation, and so on; after all, "tabs" is just the current UI
pattern you're using in your design solution... if you decide to
change for drop-down/collapsible trees/etc... the information
architecture stays (your should stay, right?) the same.

---
{ Itamar Medeiros } Information Designer
http://designative.info/
http://www.autodesk.com/

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Posted from the new ixda.org
http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29942

9 Jun 2008 - 11:56am
dustbin
2008

We'd call Current Design and its siblings the "Tab Menu" for internal audience.

Language for user instruction might be more like:

To create a new design, click the 'Design' tab
then choose 'New Design' from the menu below.

~dustin

9 Jun 2008 - 12:02pm
jason zietz
2007

Thanks, everyone, for the feedback thus far. Let me clarify why it's
important that I come up with a common terminology that people
understand: I'm writing installation instructions for a client that
provides a service that works with different blog services, so being
able to call something out with as little ambiguity as possible is
paramount. These types of interfaces are quite common, so I was hoping
to have a name for them that makes as much sense as possible since they
show up in the instructions frequently.

Thanks again! Any more feedback is greatly appreciated.

jason

Itamar Medeiros wrote:
> I guess a good approach could be addressing the parts at their
> information architecture level: TOP LEVEL navigation, SECOND LEVEL
> navigation, and so on; after all, "tabs" is just the current UI
> pattern you're using in your design solution... if you decide to
> change for drop-down/collapsible trees/etc... the information
> architecture stays (your should stay, right?) the same.
>
> ---
> { Itamar Medeiros } Information Designer
> http://designative.info/
> http://www.autodesk.com/
>
>
> . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
> Posted from the new ixda.org
> http://www.ixda.org/discuss?post=29942
>
>
> ________________________________________________________________
> Welcome to the Interaction Design Association (IxDA)!
> To post to this list ....... discuss at ixda.org
> Unsubscribe ................ http://www.ixda.org/unsubscribe
> List Guidelines ............ http://www.ixda.org/guidelines
> List Help .................. http://www.ixda.org/help
>
>

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