Action menus

Best practices

  • Include only the actions that are applicable to the screen. Don't replicate actions across all screens in the application. Actions that are common across the application should appear in the application menu.
  • Place the actions in the following order:
  • Consider including shortcuts to common actions on BlackBerry smartphones with a physical keyboard. When an action menu is open, allow users to perform a common action by pressing a defined shortcut key.

Context menus

Context menus provide users with a quick way to access the most common actions for an item. If you incorporate a context menu in your application, users don't have to open an item to act on it. For example, if users press and hold on a picture, actions such as Share, Edit, Move to folder, and Delete could appear in the context menu.

If you want to add an action for an item that is visible on the screen, include the action in a context menu, rather than an action bar. If the majority of users would need the action often, you can place the action inline on the screen instead of in a context menu.

Context menus are similar to right-click context menus in desktop applications, but are designed for touch interfaces. If you have an existing BlackBerry application that incorporates shortcut keys or pop-up menus, you can include the shortcut actions and pop-up actions in context menus. Context menus replace pop-up or graphical context menus.

Best practices

  • Only include the most common actions for the item. Don't expose users to irrelevant functionality. You can include actions for items that users can act on such as contacts, links, telephone numbers, images, and list items.
  • Don't include the most intuitive action. The most intuitive action is performed when users tap the item. For example, if users can tap an item to open it, then do not include "Open" in the context menu.
  • Don't include global actions such as “Switch Application” unless the actions apply directly to the content (for example, “Start Slideshow” for a photo album or “Select More”).
  • Place the actions in the same order as described in the action menus section above.
  • If you include destructive actions such as Delete, Remove or Clear, place those actions at the bottom of the menu.
  • Provide users with the ability to multi-select items, if applicable, by including a Select More item in the context menu. Place this action in the second last position in the list.
  • Limit the steps to perform an action. Don't require users to go through multiple views to carry out a task.
  • Allow users to stay in the current context. Users should be able to stay in the application to complete a task. You can integrate with other applications or borrow views, if necessary, to avoid a dead end.
  • Include an icon and label for each item. Make sure that the icons convey an obvious meaning to users and that the labels are concise. It is important that icons reflect the actions because only the icons display when users press and hold on an item. Users need to drag their finger to the left to see both the icons and the labels.
  • If a primary action is unavailable (for example, because an item is locked), include the action in the menu but disable (dim) the icon and label. If users try to interact with an unavailable, primary action, display a toast telling them why the action is not available. If any secondary or "extra" actions are unavailable, don't include them in the menu.
  • Consider including shortcuts to common actions on BlackBerry smartphones with a physical keyboard. When an action menu is open, allow users to perform a common action by pressing a defined shortcut key.

Application menus

Best practices

  • Include as few actions as possible. The menu only holds a maximum of five actions. Do not include frequent actions, navigation links, view-specific actions (for example, edit or sort), or actions that are already available on the screen.
  • If your application contains settings or help, position the Settings icon in the far right position of the menu and the Help icon in the far left position.
  • Use the same icon size and font size as items in an action bar. Make the height of the application menu slightly larger than the height of an action bar. Use the same depth treatment (drop shadow) as you would for an action menu.
  • Do not allow an application menu to appear if there's another object overlaying the screen (for example, a context menu or sheet appears on the screen).

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