Window Control Marking Menu

While it’s actually about a marking menu implementation in Flash, this gives a good introduction: Extremely Efficient Menu Selection: Marking Menus for the Flash Platform.

Marking menus vs linear menus on Youtube.

Could marking menus be used for window management?

There could be a menu button, but that would often put the menu in a corner so that fewer directions could be used efficiently. The menu would have to be designed for either the right or left edge of the screen.

Requiring a right click makes the functionality hard to discover, but one could provide a hint attached to the mouse pointer.

The menu appears on pressing the right mouse button. The center is neutral and allows to cancel the operation by simply releasing the mouse button again. Selection of options happens based on direction alone, distance beyond the initial threshold plays no role. This allows fast gestures. It might be worth consideration to place Maximize in the center, as it is a rather safe command, but one might want to offer a different way to cancel the operation, then.

During menu-use, the pointer disappears and a line is shown to indicate the chosen direction / the gesture being drawn. Sub-menus are reached by changing direction or pausing, although there are variations of marking menus where the mouse button has to be released.

The current workspace can’t be selected. Sticky (always on visible workspace) is presented as exclusive option instead of a separate state as in the current linear menu.

Marking menus can be combined with other elements, here an alternative for workspace selection. Sticky is presented as a kind of parenthesis.

About thorwil
I'm a designer from Germany. My main interests are visual and interaction design, free/open-source software and (electronic) music.

4 Responses to Window Control Marking Menu

  1. kwwii says:

    This reminds me of the work we did for kde in the mimetypes…never got what we wanted really, this very close.

  2. Marco Diego Aurélio Mesquita says:

    Marking menus are a good replacement for menus, not buttons. It doesn’t matter how faster they compared to linear menus, they are not as fast as clicking a button.

  3. Seif Sallam says:

    I like it alot, and it would be great if gnome-shell had this from the start as the default marking menu.

  4. Adam Sampson says:

    UWM ( has menus that work this way, although with six directions rather than eight; they worked pretty well, as I recall. One advantage of menus over buttons is that you can get away with much simpler window decorations, which is nice on small screens.