Menu driven interfaces are a huge hit among the users and it actually is a old technology technique, but it well suites around the era and it continuously have to exist, if we go by many windows application and web application, there are many different types of menu driven interfaces are present and those interfaces not only help to provide the sufficient information but also help the user to act on it and perform any actions, it would also be a good idea not just to take action based on these interface but also learn the points mentioned in the menu driven interfaces.
The menu selection strategy of dialogue design presents a list of alternatives or options to the user. The system user selects the desired alternative or option by keying in the number or letter that is associated with that option. (SOE)
More sophisticated technology allows menu selection by touching the screen, or selecting menu options with a pen, mouse, cursor keys, or other pointing devices. (SOE)
The dialogue strategies used by menu driven interfaces are as follows:
1. Open Dialog
2. Pop Up Dialog
3. Vertical Dialog
4. Horizontal Dialog
5. Cross Dialog
The above strategies imply the best use of dialog strategies among the user interface design structure and it actually contains the maximum possible information. It would be a good idea not to just drive the menu culture ahead but to give him sufficient information on this topic.
So, when a user wants to open some file, we can show him Open Dialogue to get the file and select it, we can have several option with this such as user can open single or multiple files. This way user has easy access to his machine to open and save files even, otherwise he have to go back to machine from software and do the action, which never seems to be a good option. This is why the dialogue option provides us with good opportunities and helps us to drive the interface design with the help of menu driven interfaces.
The advantages associated with menu driven interfaces are as follows:
1. Extremely easy to use. Someone who has never seen the interface before can work out what to do. (Teach ICT)
2. There are no commands to learn or remember. (Teach ICT)
3. Step-by-step options are given so that the user doesn't have to remember anything. (Teach ICT)
4. Even if you don't know what to do, you can usually guess your way round the options.
5. Menu interfaces don't have to be visual, they can be spoken - good for telephones or for visually impaired people.
6. They don't need huge amounts of processing power or memory. (Teach ICT)
7. It is fairly easy for the software programmer to create the same menus in different languages. (Teach ICT)
As, we can see there are lots of advantages on the menu driven system interface design, and it helps the users in many terms whether it is the easy selection from the group of list, for some menu or the selection or search of some activity on the menu interface design.
Still, there are many disadvantages for the system design as well, which I also want you to focus on, which will not only help you understand more about on this topic but also let you gather the best possible information on the topic.
The disadvantages of menu driven interfaces are as follows:
1. A poorly designed menu interface may be slow to use. (Teach ICT)
2. It can be irritating if there are too many menu screens to work through - users get annoyed or bored if it takes too long. (Teach ICT)
3. You often can't go to the exact place you want right at the start. You have to work your way through the menu screens even if you know where you want to get to. (Teach ICT)
4. The menu can take up a large part of the screen so you have to keep flicking back and forwards between applications. (Teach ICT)
5. If the menu is poorly designed it might be hard to read e.g. writing is too small for people with poor sight, colors might clash and be difficult to read, font style might be hard to read. (Teach ICT)
So, you can easily see, the choice of menu interfaces derives the strength of applications in the market, and it will continuously being increases because of the advancement in new designs which are much more interactive to the users.
Three strategies which will help menu driven interfaces more appealing are as follows:
1. Always provides search options, to search any menu present in the group of menu, it would help the user if there is any sub menu which he is not able to fine, he can easily search down and then find it, such as present under MS Visio.
2. Always provide help under menu sections, which user can take to get the information quickly which he is missing while looking into the menus, user might not be able to figure out everything in one go but as soon as he learns the system he can start with the activities. (Teach ICT)
3. Put smart and interactive icons before the menu options which will help recognize the activity being done by the menu, and it may also help to recognize the people who will not be able to see properly, the can easily recognize the image.
This way the menu driven interfaces are very popular and can easily help the users from different world with different aspects of looking into the system with best of their knowledge.
As with every option we will have different options available as such for its alternatives, which helps us to figure out the best from those alternatives and select them, it would not only help them to achieve the best results based on the comparison but also helps them to create more and more awareness among the users. There are many alternatives present to the menu driven options such as,
1. Vertical list of displaying information and making them hyperlinks.
2. Creating a list of values and putting links over them to navigate from one option to another.
3. On Web, it would be easy navigation menu instead of menu driven menus.
4. Navigation menus have a list of ways to do it, in which it would be a vertical navigation menu or a horizontal navigation menu. (Jeff)
Some vendors have also started providing menu driven interfaces and help the customers to do their activities fast and quick, as part of a bid to make their services more attractive to end-users, vendors have started to offer menu-driven interfaces as an alternative to the complex command protocols. Designed explicitly with the novice in mind, the menus guide the end-user with prompts through the process of selecting a database and defining the terms of a search. While command-language systems confront users with a blank screen awaiting an input, menus simplify the whole procedure by making it highly interactive.