Subject: Re: feature usage in my office
From: Ron Ross (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Tue May 08 2001 - 00:19:00 CDT
Gerry Kirk <email@example.com> writes:
> I agree with the comments on how useful styles *can* be. People spend
> way too much time working on how a document looks rather than on its
> content. That's one reason why I really like Lyx - you focus on the
> content rather than on the appearance. Because of the way programs like
> Klyx works, one begins to think of one's document as containing things
> like a title, subtitle, headings, sections, etc. In Klyx, you can't
> press the spacebar or the enter key twice in a row. The tab key is made
> impotent. If you want spacing between items, you need to define the
> content according to what it is - a list, a heading, a table, etc.
> The second part of getting styles adopted is to have well-designed
> styles packaged together for specific types of documents, i.e. if I like
> how my document looks based on the default styles, I'm more likely to
> use them.
> I'd love to see a wpro work like Klyx, where by design it pushes people
> towards using styles. If the use of the space bar, tab key and enter
> could be restricted optionally by some all-controlling system
> administrator like myself, this would be useful, I think.
I don't know if we want to force a styles-only interface. People should
feel they can just pick up AW and go. But you're right in bringing it
up. If AW could bridge the gap between a structure-based approach (it is
based on XML after all) and "traditional" wp usage, that would be great.
I think the key is making structure and styles intuitive and easy.
Possibly, AW could look to other types of editing software for examples
- other than word processors, I mean. Tex and SGML/XML based editing (I
haven't done much Tex at all -- I'm a big fan of the latter) obviously
provide the ultimate kind of models.
Closer to home for Mac/Windows users, though, is DTP software and
high-end graphics applications. Styles editing could be taken out of the
Format menu altogether (no one would notice) and given its own top-level
menu bar entry, for example. I think PageMaker had this (it's been a
while). Make it easy and obvious. CorelDraw gives right-click access to
styles: Styles->Apply, Styles->Save style props, and Styles->Revert to
style. I really like this. Sliding to Apply drops down a list of defined
styles, and Save style properties opens a dialog with checkboxes to
choose what properties in the current text or selection to include in
the style. Give it a name, and it's done, all from a mouse click in the
text you're working on.
StarOffice took a leap in that direction with a floating window that
hovers over the document. But I found it got in the way, even when
collapsed, and if you close it entirely you have a hard time finding the
same functionality from the menu -- it didn't help that they chose to
use the word "style" to denote all the character-level formating in the
menu bar and right-click pop-up. (Well, DTP software also does this,
distinguishing between "styles" (character formating) and "stylesheets"
(styles proper), but a wp should be kept simple IMO.)
But I also agree with paying special attention to key bindings,
especially for tab and return, which can have special meaning in certain
contexts (note our previous thread on lists). Piotr gave an excellent
overview of WordPro usage in this regard and offered a proposed schema
for using Alt + directional keys to move things around. I think it
deserves consideration when lists and outlining become more developed.
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This archive was generated by hypermail 2b25 : Sat May 26 2001 - 03:51:25 CDT