[Pidgin] #6268: Menus are enabled or visible even when they have no functional purpose

Pidgin trac at pidgin.im
Tue Jul 8 17:05:39 EDT 2008

#6268: Menus are enabled or visible even when they have no functional purpose
  Reporter:  foxmajik  |       Owner:  nwalp
      Type:  defect    |      Status:  new  
  Priority:  minor     |   Milestone:       
 Component:  XMPP      |     Version:  2.4.3
Resolution:            |    Keywords:       
   Pending:  1         |  
Changes (by deryni):

  * pending:  0 => 1


 The benefit to presenting menu items that do not *currently* have a
 function is that the user can learn where those menu items are for when
 the items *do* have a function (i.e. different conversation windows,
 different protocols, etc.). Presenting the disabled menu items also
 preserves menu item location for all the other items which means people
 can learn how far down a menu a given item is instead of needing to scan
 the menu every time (this is a large part of why everyone hates Windows
 favorite items magic menus and turns them off).

 Your analogy is flawed in a number of ways, first off the interface isn't
 presenting the choices it is offering them. The distinction there is key,
 you don't need to mentally (or physically) discard the incorrect items you
 just ignore them. Secondly, in your analogy the ferret never has a use in
 any conceivable scenario which isn't the case with any of the menu items
 you indicated. Each of them has functionality at some point. If you
 rewrite your analogy as a nurse saying "Doctor which of these tools would
 you like? A scalpel, a clamp, a suction hose, a suture kit, or a (Band-Aid
 style) bandage?" you would rightly suppose that offering the doctor a
 bandage while he is in the middle of invasive surgery would be less than
 useful at the moment but *not* having offered him the bandage would be
 equally unfortunate because when the kid with the scraped knee comes in he
 will not know it was ever an option (or he will be surprised by the new
 option and need to investigate it then).

 Do you see my point?

 The arguments against disabling items runs along similar lines, the idea
 is that when presented with a disabled menu item the user is unable to
 determine what, if anything, will allow them to access that menu item and
 as such is unable to determine how to proceed if the action they desire is
 currently disabled. It is believed that it would be better to present the
 user with an explanatory message indicating why their desired action is
 not currently possible when the item is clicked rather than to pre-
 emptively disable it.

Ticket URL: <http://developer.pidgin.im/ticket/6268#comment:3>
Pidgin <http://pidgin.im>

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