Meet HUD, the intelligent evolution of traditional menus
The Precise Pangolin is definitely an exciting and full-of-surprises cycle, where innovation is a first-class-citizen.
Mark Shuttleworth has revealed just now the next menu evolution called HUD, Head-Up Display, a fancy intelligent Unity-oriented menus, that, in time, is to replace the traditional menu.
HUD is designed, from an UI perspective, as a semi-Dash, that, starting with Ubuntu 12.04, will allow easy access to menu options via search in any appmenu-capable application, with zero modifications in that particular app's code.
HUD has been created with intent in mind, useful for allowing one to express an intent, thus being built as an "intenterface" beyond "interfaces".
HUD has a consistent history behind and it is now landed in Precise as a continuation of the past work done in Unity around the global menu/appmenu as a place to globally store apps's menus (GTK, QT, etc).
HUD has the advantage to search directly into the menus, regardless of how a particular app's menu structure, all the search is performed via a VUI, vocabulary UI, aimed at proper matching the user's commands with the menu.
HUD is and will be, for a period, optional, the user is not forced to use it immediately, "it’s there if you want it, supplementing the existing menu mechanism".
HUD is intelligent, in the sense that can "learn what you usually do", prioritizing the most used commands.
"If the HUD lands in 12.04 LTS, we hope you’ll find yourself using the menu less and less, and be glad to have it hidden when you are not using it".
In the future, voice-based interactions are to be an important aspect of HUD, until then the keyboard-based experience is to be used and enhanced (like for instance, the possibility to find an entry, Preferences, when you type a related item, Settings).
"Landing in 12.04 LTS is gated on more widespread testing"