[Scribus] a modest proposal on interface

Gary Glasscock rainmaker
Tue Jul 29 04:54:31 CEST 2003

Ok, there's me and Steve Herrick, but who is the third person of this

On Fri, 2003-07-25 at 10:54, Steve Herrick wrote:
> Gary Glasscock wrote:
>  > If there is a group UI Design Group formed please let me know, I would
>  > love to be one of the people in the group.
>  >
>  > Thanks
>  >
>  > Gary Glasscock
> Three constitutes a group in my book. If more want to join us later, 
> that's great. If either of you is short on time or interest, I'll 
> understand.
> I was reviewing my Jef Raskin recently, and I was reminded of one his 
> principles: A well-designed interface does not need to be divided into 
> "beginner" and "expert" subsystems. To me, that indicates that Scribus 
> should equally understandable to users of PakeMakers, InDesign, and 
> Quark, and people new to DTP. It should be as accessible as it is powerful.
> Being modeless should be a goal (Raskin again). It's possible this could 
> be disconcerting, however, as it could mean doing away with the idea of 
> having an active frame or a selected object. High context sensitivity 
> should be able to more make up for this with the convenience of acting 
> on an object directly with no thought for selecting it first or choosing 
> a tool (mode).
> Here's an example of what I mean by that. Say there's a frame with an 
> image in it. Clicking and dragging grab boxes crops it (for the moment). 
> Left-clicking a grab box presents a contextual menu with two options: 
> "Use to resize image" and "Use to crop image." Mousing over "Use to 
> resize image" activates a submenu: "...with frame aspect ratio" and 
> "...with original aspect ratio." Choosing one of these means you've 
> applied two decisions with no tool selection, no menu selection, no 
> object selection, no searching about for settings, a single click, and 
> minimal mouse movements. Click and drag the grab box to resize the 
> image, then click and drag the frame border to move it - no switching 
> tools. Almost every click and movement acts directly on the document.
> Here's another example, in text. I like how InDesign handles columns - 
> as an attribute of a text frame, not a page. So, left-clicking in text 
> could bring up a menu including a Columns option, with the following 
> suboptions...
> Number -> One more (unavoidable pop-up asks for gutter width; column 
> width is 1/x of the remaining frame width) [ | One fewer (only visible 
> if there are multiple columns already)]
> Widths -> Even | Uneven (pop-up asks for column widths)
> H Balance -> Yes | No
> (Things would be even more streamlined if only changes were offered: 
> Make widths uneven; Balance columns horizontally.)
> Left-clicking would only change text attributes (font, size, color, 
> linespacing, style, etc.) if the text were selected. Otherwise, the 
> options provided would act on the frame (columns, border, select 
> (paragraph | all text in frame [ | all linked text]), X flip, Y flip, 
> widows, orphans, etc.
> Another thought is to have mousing over make things "light up" if they 
> are left-clickable. This would eliminate guesswork on the user's part. 
> It would also all the user to click "through" layers (acting on elements 
> completely beneath other elements without altering the order).
> I haven't had time to apply this approach to everything in Scribus, but 
> if you think it makes any sense, I would try. The idea is to smooth the 
> learning curve - it might take you a second to figure it out, but it 
> immediately becomes second nature. Hopefully. I accept that it won't 
> always work (like with precise numbers), and I realize this is a fairly 
> big change, but I think it just might be better. Let me know if you 
> think I'm nuts.

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