In my short look at WordPress 3.3 Beta 1, I highlighted the fact that all menus were going to receive the Flyout treatment. The ability to vertically expand or collapse menus will be disappearing in favor of the flyout animation. Personally, I like the feature as I now get to see all of the menu items without having to click a button. However, many others have voiced their discontent with this User Interface change. In fact, there is a thread on the WordPress.org support forums that is nearing 50 posts specifically dealing with this issue.
Even though I like flyouts, I don’t have any problem with the way menus work in WordPress 3.2. In fact, it was the best of both worlds. I typically use the Icons only approach which has the flyouts while always having the option to see the full menu with the ability to vertically expand or collapse. In the newest instance, that choice has been taken away. This response by Jonschlinkert has some interesting questions that I think would be good to have answered from the WordPress UI Team.
Who was asking you to remove the expand/collapse feature? Can you point us to that request and the support for it? In other words, why is the designer “fixing” something that wasn’t broken?
If you’re interested in seeing how the feature evolved, look at the log for ticket #18382. For the curious, here is a short list of statements made in the WordPress Development Channel from May 31st 2011 to October 11th 2011, talking about the flyout menus. Nothing really exciting to read with the exception of Otto42s comment on September 19th.
Otto42 – they make everything take like 3 times longer to find. i used to just scroll the page and go right to the menu i want.. now it’s a matter of hunting and searching and checking the f-ing flyout menus
If Flyout menus get past beta and are in the final release, that is when we will be able to measure the success or failure of the change. If a major revolt happens, it’s not like reverting the change will be hard and it could come in a follow up point release. At the end of the day though, the folks in the forum thread have to be commended for providing valuable feedback during the beta testing process.
Related But Not Required Reading: Why Hover Menus Do Users More Harm Than Good