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On Tuesday, Gnome announced that they are planning on retiring the app menus from its next release, which is GNOME 3.32. Application menus or app menus are the menus that you see in the GNOME 3 top bar, with the name and icon for the current app.

Why application menus are being removed in GNOME?

The following are the reasons GNOME is bidding adieu to the application menus:

  • Poor user engagement: Since their introduction, application menus have been a source of usability issues. The app menus haven’t been performing well over the years, despite efforts to improve them. Users don’t really engage with them.
  • Two different locations for menu items: Another reason for the application menus not doing well could be the split between app menus and the menus in application windows. With two different locations for menu items, it becomes easy to look in the wrong place, particularly when one menu is more frequently visited than the other.
  • Limited adoption by third-party applications: Application menus have seen limited adoption by third-party applications. They are often kept empty, other than the default quit item, and people have learned to ignore them.

What guidelines developers must follow?

All GNOME applications will have to move the items from its app menu to a menu inside the application window. Here are the guidelines that developers need to follow:

  1. Remove the app menu and move its menu items to the primary menu
  2. If required, split the primary menus into primary and secondary menus
  3. The about menu item should be renamed from “About” to “About application-name”

Guidelines for the primary menu

Primary menu is the menu you see in the header bar and has the icon with three stacked lines, also referred to as the hamburger menu.

  1. In addition to app menu items, primary menus can also contain other menu items.

2. Quit menu item is not required so it is recommended to remove it from all locations.

3. Move other app menu items to the bottom of the primary menu.

4. A typical arrangement of app menu items in a primary menu is a single group of items:

  • Preferences
  • Keyboard Shortcuts
  • Help
  • About application-name

5. Applications that use a menu bar should remove their app menu and move any items to the menu bar menus.

If an application fails to remove the application menu by the release of GNOME 3.32, it will be shown in the app’s header bar, using the fallback UI that is already provided by GTK.

Read the full announcement on GNOME’s official website.

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