[Libreoffice] [libreoffice-design] Re: [UX]How to drive new users to style-based formatting (idea)
alvarezp at alvarezp.ods.org
Sat Mar 26 21:32:21 PDT 2011
On Sat, 26 Mar 2011 16:33:39 -0700, Bernhard Dippold
<bernhard at familie-dippold.at> wrote:
> Hi Rafael, all!
> I don't know if you have noticed Octavio's reply (it raised your mail to
> visibility again), because he didn't CC you, what seems to be usual here
> on this list (in opposite to any other LibreOffice list).
I put him in the To: field. However, you did not Cc: me in this message.
I'm interested in everything related to styles.
>> What I was thinking is how to make new users (or even old ones) to use
>> style-based rather than direct formatting.[...]
> Styles are a very mighty feature - but as you state below, they are not
> accessible enough to be accepted by the average user.
And *this* is where we could improve. Instead of trying to forcedly push
styles to the average user we could try to make it more user-friendly and
To start off with an idea (I think you will like it): we could fix the
always visible, whatever-is-named, Styles dropdown in the toolbar. Let's
assume the user visits the dropdown (maybe he is just exploring). Let's
accept the following facts:
1. "Default" without a noun has no meaning: "Default" *what*?
2. "Heading 1" and "Heading 2" are technical names, not explicit enough,
and therefore, not user-friendly: Does it mean "The first and second
heading in my document" or "Different types of heading [disregarding a
nesting level]" or "The level of nesting of a header"?
3. Having "Default" as the default causes problems: So, we start writing.
We leave it as "default" (because, it's the *default*, right? We trust the
developers.) We write a couple of paragraphs and headings (for which we
choose Heading 1 and 2). We change "default" line spacing to "double". Why
did it change the line spacing of my headings?! How do I change my
paragraph spacing *without* modifying my headings? The advanced user will
tell him to set all his paragraphs to "Text body" first, always, or change
all the regular paragraphs to Text body, skipping the Headings (which is a
pain). Then, why, oh why, is Text body NOT the selected-by-default style.
Same thing with Header and Footer.
4. Paragraph styles are the easiest to understand, and the one that gives
the user the most immediate benefit. He will have a solid base for a
uniformly formatted document, assuming he considers that as a benefit
(some users don't). Also, should he discover "Insert > Indexes and Tables
> Indexes and Tables...", just by clicking OK he will save himself hours
1. Adjust it to have something like "[ Regular paragraph |v]". At least
"regular paragraph" with a dropdown implies there are *other kinds* of
paragraphs, which paragraph styles is all about.
2. Have the dropdown show as options: "1st-level title", "2nd-level
title", "3rd-level title". I would add "Document title" too. Those names
are friendly names that would map to Text body, Heading 1, Heading 2,
Heading 3 and Title, *or* have these styles renamed all over LibO. My
problem with the renaming-all-over idea is that it would break the sorting
3. I would take "Default" out of the list and put "Text body" as the
selected-by-default style (and rename "Default" to "Root" in the S&F
window or any better idea.)
(How all this could break already existing documents, I don't know.
TEsting would be needed.)
4. Rename "More..." to "More styles..." <---- HERE you introduce the term
"styles" as a "kind of paragraph".
5. In the S&F window, between its toolbar and the style list, add an
explicit label "This paragraph is a: [ Text body ]".
>> All that applies to paragraph styles, but once you are in that path,
>> it's quite easy to take a hand on character and page styles. As for Bold
>> and Italic, and some of the other character formatting, I guess it poses
>> a problem, for which I don't have any answers yet. The most uses of Bold
>> and Italic are with direct formatting.
> But it is the mightiest area IMHO:
> HTML provides styles like "strong", "emphasized" and so on, so at least
> some people know about this option.
Now we need a way to set both at the same time. What if it is a foreign
word (italic) inside a strong statement (bold)? We don't have that yet.
> What we would need: An easy way to ask the user what he wants to do.
I am against dialogs as much as possible. It takes away the input focus,
which is a source for "what is happening here?".
> Perhaps by using the new notification feature (currently worked on at
> OOo) we could inform the user that he enters a different style when he
> adds an attribute.
That's the problem "just adding an attribute" shouldn't alter styles
> And in case this is not his intention we could provide different options:
> - Apply new attribute to selection only (single paragraph/character
> style - near to hard formatting)
> - Apply new attribute to existing style (modifying all appearances of
> the style in the document)
> - Create new style with the new attribute and the already existing ones
> (provide an easy name like "Standard bold" or "Textbody red
> background"). If the new style already exists, the selection can join
> this style. This should be standard behavior.
This implies a dialog! The user would not even understand why is the
program asking him something he doesn't know how to answer.
What do you think of these ideas?
Twitter: @alvarezp2000 -- Identi.ca: @alvarezp
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