[Scribus] User-interface design [was" Thus is has been with Scribus."]
Tue Feb 5 04:39:15 CET 2008
The example proffered below by Peter Nermander is a straw man.
>On Mon, 4 Feb 2008 14:28:29 +0100 (CET)
>"Peter Nermander" <peter.nermander at abc.se> wrote:
> > Imagine working in a text editor where you would always have to first
> > choose "select" in a menu to be able to select text. Then choose "copy" in
> > a menu, move the cursor and select "paste" in a menu. And finally go back
> > to the selection, select it (using that same menu again, and trying to
> > remember how much you selected before) and the choose "delete" in a menu.
> > Is that user friendly?
Keyboard shortcuts and menus are not mutually exclusive. Yes, you
can have both (fancy that). And a well-designed GUI will teach you
what the keyboard shortcuts are so that you can progress from novice
to intermediate to expert: File > Save (Ctrl-s), Edit > Copy
(Ctrl-c). It's sort of handy if the keyboard shortcuts are mnemonic
wherever possible. In FrameMaker you have Esc e c (meaning e=edit,
Another rule of thumb is that all context menus should also be
available from the main menubar and menus. A program whose name I
forget also used to pop up little messages like: "I see you are using
Edit > Copy frequently. Do you know that pressing Ctrl-c also copies
the selection?" How friendly!
The people who argue that the Scribus GUI is fine as it is, generally
argue that once people learn a GUI then it doesn't matter how it is
designed. One would therefore expect that especial care had been
taken to ensure that it was easy to learn, right? Would anybody like
to argue that this is the case? But the conundrum for GUI designers
is that you need to somehow cater for both novice and expert, not
putting obstacles in the way of the former but not hampering the
latter with clutter. That's why so many GUIs now allow you to
customise them. And that's why it is important for a GUI to teach
shortcuts. That way, all functions should be available by the
(possibly inefficient) menus so the user can gradually progress to
quicker ways of achieving their goals.
The extreme example is the original Emacs, entirely keyboard and
command driven, which placed enormous demands on your memory but was
very efficient "once you had learned its UI". But it took years to
learn from very bad documentation that could not be searched and had
no index. Anyone brave enough to propose an entirely keyboard driven Scribus?
Hedley Stewart Finger
28 Regent Street Camberwell VIC 3124 Australia
Tel. +61 3 9809 1229 Mobile +61 412 461 558,
E-mail <mailto:hfinger at handholding.com.au>
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