I find the menus of SketchUp free to be hard to use. Instead of relying on universal standards that people are used to it’s re-invented from scratch. The menu mixes a hamburger menu with something that appears to a button (but doesn’t look like one) with a a conventional sub menu opened from an icon, with an element I don’t even know what to call.
Conventionally a hamburger icon opens the full menu with all options. This one however lacks fundamental functions such as Save As. Save As is placed elsewhere but is hard to find there since you expect it to be in the hamburger/God menu. Finding Save As gets even more difficult due to New Model being in the hamburger menu, making it appear to be a File menu.
After the hamburger menu comes the model name element. At first glance this appears to be a menu by the name of the model, in this case a menu named test. The unique document name element is not more prominent than other elements or styled enough differently to clearly communicate what it is: the one and only name of the document. It’s very different from the document name element in Google Docs which is very prominent and unambiguous.
After the test, eh … document name, element there is an icon that actually somewhat well communicate it’s a File menu, However you don’t easily find it because you are stuck searching in the hamburger menu instead. Also it looks very out of place, being so different from its neighboring elements.
After that there’s yet another element with yet another style: the save button, which by the way does not look like a button. Yeah, I get how these 4 elements are all of different types and therefore need different styling, but with just one element in each category there’s no logic pattern, just a bunch of elements that don’t visually match.
Last but not least, after all these 4 differently looking elements with no clear hierarchy there’s a sharp corner pointing right into the drawing area. I can’t be the only one who is bugged by this sharp object constantly being in the corner of my eye while modeling. It’s true that the side menus also have corners but they seem much more harmonic due to their symmetry. Also these corners doesn’t point into the center of the workspace where you usually look.
I propose a relaxed and harmonic top level menu running the full width of the screen with no sharp corners. This menu would also reflect the bottom menu/status bar.
The menu would consist of the normal entries you are used to from other software, such as Google Docs, Adobe and most other thinkable programs, where you easily can find everything without having to remember how this specific application is organized.
This would also allow for custom shortcuts, as users can easily associate a menu path with a shortcut the way desktop SketchUp does. (@jbacus: maybe this interests you as many people have requested custom shortcuts for Free)
For smaller screens the top menu could be collapsed to a hamburger menu which both saves space and is what mobile users are used to. The hamburger menu could however line up with the side menu, making them read as a single column along the side of the screen, and not angrily point a sharp corner into the drawing area.
In my view the current menu is one of the biggest drawbacks with Free. It is both hard to pick up and makes it difficult for Free users to transition to become Pro users to to the differences. Not to mention how it’s one of the few parts of the UI that I don’t at all find visually pleasing. I hope these suggested changes could fix these problems.