Improving UX of and/or guidelines for Popover menus

I’m a user of the Tilix terminal application, and it uses Popovers to implement context menus. There are some UX problems with this that I’d like to help fix, but I’m unsure of the way forward. I’ve opened bug reports (, but I have a feeling some general discussion may be needed instead.

Here are the problems I’m running into as a user:

  • When sub-menus appear they can appear far from the current mouse pointer location, leading to extra mouse movement (see
  • Popovers can be activated by the keyboard, but activating sub-menus does not seem to be possible (neither space nor enter keys work), and the currently selected item isn’t marked very clearly.

I’d like to discuss ways these issues can be improved. Here are some suggestions:

  • Keyboard navigation of Popover menus can be improved: The currently selected item could be highlighted more clearly, and activating the sub-menu should work when pressing enter or space.
  • The direction in which a menu appears should be fixed, i.e., not switch between main menu and sub-menu.
  • And/or perhaps the sub-menu can appear at the location of the activating item.
  • And/or perhaps using Popovers with sub-menus should be discouraged.
  • And/or perhaps using Popovers for context menus should be discouraged (particularly, since context menus are hard to activate on a touch device, but Popovers seem to be particularly designed with a touch device in mind).

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