"Pie" or "Radial Context" Menus in FrontEnds
I have searched for the terms in this title. To my surprise I was unable to find even one discussion of it.
Pie or Radial Context Menus seem to be an almost natural choice for a carpc frontend! I think they are also referred to as gesture reflexive interfaces (probably more scientifically than practically.)
The advantages are:
1. Takes up no space and is completely hidden when not in use.
2. In fact, they can be nearly transparent while in use
3. Requires only single button, single click (lift-off, actually) input to perform literally hundreds of tasks - A perfect shoe-in for touchscreens!
4. Motor memory is easily trained to access most functions without even looking
5. Is easily expandable, customizeable, configurable, and contextual!
6. Can be intelligent in that they group the most used, or most recently used functions in the most easily gestured positions all by themselves. They can even be programmed to train themselves based on your gestures and what you "meant" to select.
7. They look VERY cool, and function just as cool!
Obviously all of these are such perfect choices for a FrontEnd that you would think nearly every one of them were using it. I have been unable to find one example of it being used for this application.
If you are unfamiliar with this type of menu (which I doubt you are; just unfamiliar with the name) it is used in several games, The SIMS being the most popular example of it. One of the programmers for that game, Don Hopkins, is also one of the biggest advocates of pie menus. He has a website with many articles and even source code for implementing them in your own programs.http://www.piemenus.com/
Unfortunately, I am a mediocre programmer, so my only chance of effecting this is to bring this to the front-end developers' attention, hence this post.
I am planning to add this to my to-do list, but I fear that it would be ages before I could possibly create a FE that would even come close to the awesome stuff already available. Maybe a plugin? Who knows. Personally, I think it would be faster and more clean if someone that already knew what they were doing implemented it, but I am willing to do the hard work myself is need be.
Go check out that pie menu site and let everyone know what you think!