The Canon Powershot G11 favors dials over menus and buttons for the more often used functions. Not only that, but the dials appear to be made of metal, not plastic like most other digicams! On the left (see above) is an exposure compensation dial which allows +/- 2 stops of EC to be applied in 1/3 stop steps.
The main control dial sets shooting mode. Available modes are C1 and C2 (custom modes), M (manual), Av (aperture priority), Tv (shutter priority), P (intelligent program) and AUTO (full auto). Past Auto on the dial are icons for low light mode, quick shot mode, scene modes and video. In the scene modes, Portrait, Landscape, Night Snapshot, Kids & Pets, Indoor, Sports, Sunset, Night Scene, Fireworks, Beach, Underwater, Aquarium, Foliage, Snow, Color Accent, Color Swap and Stitch Assist options are available.
Surrounding the main control dial is the ISO setting dial which allows ISO to be set to 80, 100, 200, 400, 800, 1600 and 3200, plus an auto mode. The Canon Powershot G11 is capable of higher auto ISO settings (up to 12800), but only in low light mode which reduces image size to 2.5MP and which doesn't allow manual ISO control.
Zoom is controlled by a ring around the shutter release. The lens zooms from wideangle to telephoto settings in 14 steps.
On the back of the G11 is the main 4-way controller button which is surrounded by a rotatable dial. The button can be used to select flash mode, focus mode, macro focus and self timer. The 4-way button can also be used to navigate menus which are displayed when the "Menu" button is pressed. In the center of the 4-way controller is a "Set" button which can be used to register menu settings. The "Disp" button cycles the display between just displaying the image and displaying information and the histogram. These options are also available when playing back images, which is done by a dedicated button (just to the right of the optical viewfinder).
The LCD screen is articulated and can swing out and around, facing forwards for self portraits, pointed up for low level shooting and down for overhead shooting. It can be stored with the screen facing in (for protection) or facing out for normal operation.
I'm not going to go through menus in detail because it's pretty boring stuff. If you really want the down and dirty details of all the buttons, menus, dials and switches you can download the user manual from Canon via the Canon USA website. You may have to enter your operating system before you see the manual .pdf file.