[Scribus] a modest proposal on interface

Steve Herrick steveh
Sat Jul 19 07:30:56 CEST 2003

PFJ wrote:
> Hi,
>>What I propose is that we form an informal usability team to talk over 
>>ideas on making Scribus easy to learn and easy to use. It's good now, 
>>but it can be better. Please write me either off- or onlist if you are 
> Let's hear what you're proposing on here before taking it anywhere else.

Okay. Lots of us have thoughts on how the interface/usability could be 
improved on. I'd like to see a group talk about this and come up with a 
Grand Unifified Plan, or a plan of some sort.

When I say improved, I mean that buttons and commands should be where 
you'd expect them to be (which some are and some are not, currently), 
objects should behave predictably, and configurations should be easy to 

Here are some examples of things that violate expectations in Scribus...
- Line spacing is not tied to font size.
- Kerning jumps by an entire point when you click "up" or "down," which 
is a huge amount.
- When I copy a box of right-justified text and paste it, the text is 
- Linking boxes is not intuitive (simple, yes, intutive, no), nor is 
there any way I know of to manifest the links between boxes.
- You can't drag an object across pages.
- Columns are terribly confusing. So is creating styles.
- Double and triple-click don't work.
- There's no "baseline" feature.
- Text attributes can only be applied to one paragraph at a time.
- And I have more (there's no "snap-to," grab boxes are proportional to 
magnification, kerning doesn't show up accurately in Measurements,  etc...).

Also, I've had throughts like reducing modality (i.e., the distinction 
between text-box-create mode, box-move mode, and text-edit mode) by 
making the cursor highly context-sensitive: a text-edit cursor when over 
text, a move cursor over box frames, and a resize cursor over grab boxes 
(this last is already in place). This would take almost no time to 
learn, and would save substantial time and confusion.

Likewise, modality could be further reduced by eliminating the 
distinction between text frames and image frames. There would simply be 
a frame, and the conext menu would have two options: "Get text..." and 
"Get image...", or better still, simply "Get content..."

Anyway, this is an explanation by example. Some folks will agree that 
these are serious problems, other will not. These are the kinds of 
issues I'd like to talk about - the problems we see, the solutions we 
propose, and how to minimize the amount of code that needs to be 
created/edited. All I propose is to group those of us who want to 
address these issues, so as not to annoy those who aren't.

If elections are just something where you go in, you push a button,
and go home, then it doesn't make much difference which button you push.
- Noam Chomsky

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