Designing G1 Menus

10 Mar 2009 - 8:12pm
7 years ago
1 reply
950 reads
Eugene Kim

Note: I did an IxDA search for "G1" and found only 3 results, none
of which really addressed the UI on an element level. I'm hoping a
few folks have had a chance to play around with it by now!

I'm working on an existing application which suffers a bit from some
inconsistencies in it's design. It was partially modeled after
Google's existing apps at the time and made to be contextual to
whatever page the user was on. I decided to take a closer look at
the menus within Google's Maps, Browser, and Gmail apps and found
that they exhibited some of the same inconsistencies.

Overall, I've found 3 ways to initiate menus:

- MENU hard key (pressing MENU button displays menu)
- Touch overlay (touch the screen and menu appears)
- "Page" menu (always present on the screen)

There are a few different presentations of menus:

- Entire page as a menu
- Lightbox (some take control of the screen so you can't click
anywhere else but the focused content, others allow you to click the
screen to cancel out)
- Menus that show up in different parts of the page (slides down from
top, slides up from bottom, appears in the middle)

And finally, multiple methods to exit the menu or command that's
been initiated (aside from the Submit/Cancel-style dialog buttons):

- Touch screen outside of menu (if space is available)
- Press MENU hard key
- Press BACK hard key (this option seems to work for just about every

I feel the number of combinations these provide make for a confusing
experience since a user can't always be sure what to expect when he
"clicks" something (with the exception of the BACK button--always
takes me back to the previous page/app or exits out of a menu).

I'm looking for some general thoughts and discussion on this aspect
of the G1 UI. For example, have you found content for which there's
a reason you would initiate or present a menu one way or another?
Should there be a reserved menu for "global" navigation? My
general feeling is to go the iPhone way and to simplify the
experience, but maybe there are things I haven't considered that are
specific to the G1.



12 Mar 2009 - 1:12am
Eugene Kim

Ah well, I guess the G1 just hasn't penetrated the market like the
iPhone has. As it stands, I'm basically trying to strike a balance
between the user's familiarity with Google's existing menu designs
versus simplifying the experience (as I mentioned above). I'm
hoping for a happy medium.

Sadly, in many ways the iPhone has a better Google experience than
the G1 does.

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