Re: Features V stability

Subject: Re: Features V stability
From: Ron Ross (
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 00:21:19 CDT

Martin Sevior <> writes:

> On Fri, 4 May 2001, Ron Ross wrote:
> > Sam TH <> writes:
> >
> > > On Thu, May 03, 2001 at 10:37:28PM -0400, Ron Ross wrote:
> > > > A corrective followup to my previous post:
> > >
> > >
> > > What do you think would be a good user interface to adding lines
> > > between list items?
> > For starters, though, and off-hand, #1 below seems like the "correct"
> > way of doing it... but there's an issue concerning user expectation
> > here that I'll have to consider more carefully.
> >
> > >
> > > Currently, AW works like this:
> > >
> > > If you hit return twice, it eliminates the new list element. In other
> > > words, RET-RET behaves exactly like RET-BKSP.

That's what I found a little unnerving (in AW and Word), but maybe only
because I'm used to WP.

> > >
> > > There are a few possibilites here:
> > >
> > > 1. The second return could generate another new list element, leaving
> > > the previous new one blank. [ This is how the first AW implementation
> > > worked ]
> > > 2. The new return could behave like backspace, the way it currently
> > > does in AW and Word.
> > > 3. The new return could insert a blank line *before* the current list
> > > element, the way you describe WordPerfect working.
> > > 4. The new return could add another line to the document, at the end,
> > > but without a list header on it.
> > >
> > > The only way currently to insert the blank lines you are talking about
> > > is to go back to the beginning of the line the new list element is on,
> > > and hit return. I think this qualifies as definitely non-intuitive.
> > >
> > > Does anyone have suggestions for improving this interface?
> > >
> >
> >
> User expectations are certainly for 2. After I did 1. (which is actually
> the easiest to implent people asked for 2, (which was not much
> harder). Anyway inplementing any of thes einterfaces is about 0.5 hours
> work. We just have to decide what the best one is.
> There are actually a number of other ways to put in a blank line with no
> previous list item.
> 1. Got to the begging of the line and press return. Actualy I think this
> is intuitive once the user realizes it can be done. MS Word does not
> allow this.

Actually, WP allows for this, too. I find it intuitive in that it is
consistent with other parts of the interface, like pressing Ctrl-Home
once to get to the beginning of the edited document as defined by its
current page layout and a second time to get to the "aboslute" begining,
before the page setup codes.

> 2. Go to the end of the previous line press return then hit backspace to
> delete the list element.
> 3. Fire up the modeless "Bullets and numbering dialog". Press return 3
> times to move you to the next line then press "Attach to previous list" on
> the line after the blank line.

Here is where I think style/paragraph definition should be integrated
with the "Bullets and Numbering dialog". (BTW, I think it absolutely
great that you decided to implement modeless dialogs.) With that, one
could either do what you describe in #3, if the extra lines represent a
special occurrence, or, if what is wanted is consistently greater
spacing between elements of a list, one could edit and apply whatever
list-level formating one wanted. Generally speaking, the analogous
dialogs in Word and WP present a nested hierarchy of customizations.
Abstracting their differences and particularities:

    1st dialog level: a list of list/outline styles to choose from, with
        the options of a) creating/defining a new list style and b)
        editing an existing list style

    2nd dialog level: this is where you define a new list style or edit
        an existing one. You define the numbering scheme or the symbols
        to use for as many list levels as required. Buttons let you
        create and edit list levels. Editing a list level brings up...

    3rd dialog level: this is where you define indentation, line
        spacing, paragraph spacing, font,... everything, in fact.

Word doesn't go all the way in the 3rd level, or at least I haven't
experimented enough to test defining paragraph level formating for list
levels (it provides a field "Link level to style:" with a pull-down menu
of all styles, which is obviously the way to go but seems unclear and
incomplete). WP's 3rd level brings up WP's standard "Style Editor", so
you can pretty much do whatever you want.

Only the first dialog level should remain modeless, I suppose. Or
perhaps the second also, if it is a tabbed leaf (is that the way of
putting it?) in the first, changing according to what list/outline style
is chosen in what would be the first tab.

One aspect aspect that I find confusing in current wps, and one that
impacts on the possibilities Sam listed, is how to deal with blocks of
text that lie _between_ list items but are part of the level, as in a
fully outlined document, like a legal document, say, where each
list-level consists of a heading plus text. I don't use this a whole
lot, and when I do I muck around with it until I get what I want... so I
can't give you a coherent rundown or feature request. Others probably
can. Word's "Body Text x" would seem to apply.

The question is, what is that interposing line for? "Normal" text that
is outside the list, or text that is part of the level?

Therefore, I am afraid, I haven't been able to answer Sam's original
question very clearly. I hope this helps though.


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