[Libreoffice-ux-advise] [Libreoffice] [REVIEW] text, orientation, not text direction
Rafael Rocha Daud
rrdaud at gmail.com
Mon Oct 31 20:49:14 PDT 2011
In short, I think the patch addresses the issue correctly, and should be
applied as-is. Read on for detailed reasoning for this. Go to the last
paragraph for an additional proposal (might be an easy-hack? -- I can't
judge because none would be easy for me :-)).
According to this page
there are two separate things: text direction, which is LTR or RTL
(left-to-right and right-to-left), and text orientation, which is
vertical or horizontal. The new patch treats the function as orientation
changing, which it really is, so it should be applied.
But there's something more to it, which relates to the language you're
writing into. The thing is: all languages that use vertical orientation
are read right-to-left. The main example is Chinese. That article also
states that one-line (therefore horizontal) RTL are in fact special
cases of vertical writing, in which the columns have only one row. This
is used when there's small space to write into, for example, an
horizontal sign above a temple entrance. So we could say RTL direction
and vertical orientation are interchangeable and have the same meaning
in practice. The patch treats orientation, so saying vertical suffices.
But, many of these languages can also use horizontal, left-to-right
writing. If you choose left-to-right in the dialog (or horizontal with
the patch applied), that's what you get, even if you're writing in
Chinese or Japanese. The behavior of the application is consistent in
this, and lets the user choose what kind of writing he wants.
The caveat is someone writing in these languages could choose
"horizontal" and still expect to write right-to-left -- the special case
of vertical writing mentioned above (say they haven't read the wikipedia
article, what a shame). We could solve this by changing the "vertical"
option to "vertical (right-to-left for eastern asian scripts)", but I'm
not sure this is needed. We should also leave the horizontal option
alone, for the reason that middle-east languages (mainly arab and
hebrew) are written right-to-left, but horizontally. Plus, the cell
properties doesn't change this, the font does. If the font is
right-to-left, then the text will be written so, despite of what the
dialog says (or it would become unreadable). So we say "vertical (RTL
for eastern asian scripts)" and "horizontal", and let the font decide
the direction. The dialog only takes care of orientation.
But there's an additional issue. If the language you're writing into is
LTR, then if you choose "vertical" in the dialog, what happens is that
the text is rendered rotated 90 degrees to the right, so you have to
incline your head in that direction to read it properly. That's cool,
because you could use for example narrow columns and still write long
words in them. I once used this for the headers of a table.
So the current dialog is indeed incorrect, because it states
"right-to-left" but English would still be written LTR. Same as
"left-to-right", when Arab would still be written RTL (and couldn't be
otherwise, because of the ligatures).
My proposal is (apart from applying the patch):
The dialog would offer 3 options: (1) horizontal, (2) vertical (eastern
asian scripts), (3) vertical (other scripts). The first two would work
just as today, including the behaviour of rotating to the right when
using the second option with other than asian scripts. The change comes
with the third option: instead of rotating to the right, the scripts
would be rotated to the left. The reason is: there have been studies
proving it's much easier to read if you rotate to the left. I point this
as an example. The lamp-posts in Paulista Av., São Paulo have been
designed in the 1920's by modernist architects, and they discovered that
rotating to the left makes the names of the streets more readable than
when rotated to the right. This works so well that is has been like this
for many decades now. And they're street signs! This third option would
let us rotate the words this way, while maintaing the ability to rotate
right using the second option. And since this would be a third option,
there could be room to add the ability to choose the rotation degree:
45, 60 or 90. That would make it even more readable (but that would
depend if the fonts could be rendered this way). Do you think it's
desirable (in the feature side) or feasible (in the hacking side)?
Well, either way, thanks Lior for the patch, IMHO it could be applied
PS.: the image attached shows the present behaviour I tried to describe.
Em 31-10-2011 14:05, Jan Holesovsky <kendy at suse.cz> escreveu:
> Hi Lior,
> Thank you for the patch! It seems that it caused some misunderstanding,
> so maybe it might be good to CC: the UX guys for the suggestion of
> wording? - CC'd now.
> UX guys - please have a look at Lior's suggestion; for a screenshot of
> what he means, see his original mail in the ML archive:
> How does that sound?
> Thank you,
-------------- next part --------------
A non-text attachment was scrubbed...
Size: 20598 bytes
Desc: not available
More information about the Libreoffice-ux-advise