writes "'Deep tree' GUI menus are getting annoying as vendors rack up the feature quantities to compete with each other. Searching in menus for some long-lost feature is becoming ever more time-consuming as the trees grow. Perhaps it's time to rethink hierarchical menus and borrow some ideas from search engines, such as Google.
Consider listing (and perhaps linking) all the options or features in a database-like contraption, and key-word searching on these behind the scenes to produce a Google-like list of feature/option matches. A simple SQL "LIKE" statement(s) can be used for a simple implementation, with dedicated text indexers for fancier ones.
The database could also contain synonyms to assist finds. Some options will have prerequisites, which need to be dealt with. These can be tracked via a dependency tree or graph.
Has anybody tried something similar to this in a desktop app with success? If so, what technologies and techniques did you use, and what lessons did you learn?"