Introducing the Head Up Display. Say hello to the future of the menu

The Ubuntu operating system is to replace its application menus with a  “head-up display” (HUD) box. According to Mark Shuttleworth, Lead design and product strategy person at the company behind Ubuntu:

We can search through everything we know about the menu, including descriptive help text, so pretty soon you will be able to find a menu entry using only vaguely related text (imagine finding an entry called Preferences when you search for “settings”).


One of the comments states:

I suspect that applications will need to give help documentation a more significant place in the development of the application than it currently enjoys. Help seems the logical place to embed command discovery in such a system especially in connection with a capacity for fuzzy searches.



I’d want to see this in action in the real world before I really decide on this but I think this may a step too far for Ubuntu. Non-technical users are happy with the mouse and menus – I could see HUD being a source of endless frustration.
Great for the geek perhaps but it will do nothing for the popular adoption of the Linux desktop.
Although I would be glad to see the end of menu cascade instructions (e.g. File>Import>Format etc.).

David Cramer

From the video, this seems to preclude exploring the menus to look for functionality when you’re not quite sure what it is called or even just exploring to see what the application can do:

Marc Achtelig

Looks very much like the search field in the Windows 7 Start menu. I think it’s a good shortcut if you know what you’re looking for. But you can’t use it for exploring which command are available.

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