Safari: What’s wrong with this menu?

The Cupertino Interface Police were looking the other way when Safari’s menus were built. Take a look at the View menu’s first command: Hide Toolbar. More specifically, look at the keyboard shortcut for it: Command-|. What’s wrong with this? Hint: Look at the shortcut for Zoom In: Command-+.

Okay, time’s up. Let’s start with the second example, Command-+ for Zoom In. How do you type a plus sign? With the Shift key. But you don’t use the Shift key with this command. Nobody has much of a problem with this, since it’s a natural thing – “Oh, there’s the Plus sign, I’ll just press Command and then that key.” There’s no Command-= shortcut in Safari to muddy these particular waters, and, besides, there’s the balancing command of Command-minus for Zoom Out, so the mnemonic is pretty much built in.

Safari View Menu

But it is a conceptual problem (because of the Command-= possibility), unless we choose to totally ignore the difference and treat Command-plus and Command-equals as exactly the same, which is pretty much what happens all over the place. BUT…

Now look at the Hide Toolbar command: Command-|. How do you type the pipe character? Shift-\. How do you trigger the command in Safari? You must press Command-Shift-\, despite the lack of any Shift-key symbol in the menu. Misleading. Messy. Miserable. (Is there an “m” word for “inconsistent”?)

Changing the menu listing to Command-Shift-\ would make it easier for users to understand, keep it more in line with the way keyboard equivalents are usually listed, and, as a bonus, keep it from looking like the letter i. (Which brings us to the issue of all those capital letters listed as keyboard shortcuts despite their not being shifted characters. Wouldn’t lowercase letters look beyond strange after 25 years of uppercase?)

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