firefox file menu

I'm no usability expert. In fact, I've been called tasteless by many people (my wife included), but what the hell is up with pretty much all programs having a 'File' menu? defines 'file' as:

  1. a folder, cabinet, or other container in which papers, letters, etc., are arranged in convenient order for storage or reference.
  2. a collection of papers, records, etc., arranged in convenient order: to make a file for a new account.
  3. Computers. a collection of related data or program records stored on some input/output or auxiliary storage medium: This program's main purpose is to update the customer master file.
  4. a line of persons or things arranged one behind another (distinguished from rank).
  5. Military. a. a person in front of or behind another in a military formation. b. one step on a promotion list.
  6. one of the vertical lines of squares on a chessboard.
  7. a list or roll.
  8. a string or wire on which papers are strung for preservation and reference.

If you're still awake, then I'm sure you get the point--no where in the definition of the word 'file' do you see "a bunch of totally random computer software menu options".

So--why does almost every program have a 'File' menu?

I can understand having a 'File' or 'Files' menu option if your program performs file-based operations (eg: Microsoft Office, Open Office), but for almost every other program out there, having a 'File' menu stuffed with stupid options that have nothing to do with files (eg: 'Quit', 'New Window', 'New Tab', 'Work Offline', etc.) seems ridiculous.

Make it Intuitive

A big part of the reason so many people can barely use a computer is because most user interfaces still aren't intuitive. What's more deceptive to new users than menu options located in random places?

I've been using computers since I can remember, and I still have problems using new software today, mainly because the options I'm looking for are located in nonsensical menu locations. Not only is it frustrating and time consuming, but it makes users not want to use your software.

If you had never used a computer before, and were introduced to Firefox for the first time, wouldn't it make more sense to find window management options under a 'Windows' menu? Or printing options under a 'Printing' menu?

If you're a developer--whether you build desktop apps, mobile apps, or webapps: make your user interfaces make sense. Not only will your users appreciate it, but most of all, I will.