W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-style@w3.org > May 1997

Re: DSSSL and WYSIWYG Editing

From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 05:38:05 -0400
Message-ID: <337441FD.2E510579@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: Terry Crowley <tcrowley@oz.net>
CC: "dssslist@mulberrytech.com" <dssslist@mulberrytech.com>, "www-style@w3.org" <www-style@w3.org>
Terry Crowley wrote:
> >  In these cases, WYSIWYG would make the interface harder to navigate and
> >  harder to use. In the long run I expect WYSIWYG to gradually become less
> >  and less interesting. Graphical views of documents are important, but
> >  views that are exactly the same as readers are not really so important.
> 
> Wow.  Better put a huge caveat on the above statements.  Whose your target
> user?  

My target user is everybody. Over the long run I expect everybody to
become a full or part-time word processor user. Since children start
using them in primary school these days I would expect them to be
proficient by high school. At that point I expect them to be taught more
advanced document navigation techniques as part of their typing classes
(or *instead of* their typing classes, which will have migrated to
primary school) and their English classes.

> Sure, if it's someone whose writing content all day where the ability to
> control layout easily for the document as a whole is important, the stylesheet
> view is important.  For the other 99% of users, they just want something that
> easily allows them to achieve the effect they're trying to achieve.  Using a
> stylesheet is like programming, and bottom line is that most users of composing
> tools don't want to be programmers.  Using a stylesheet requires planning, and
> most users don't want to plan.  They just want to write their content.  

Let me repeat that I don't see the flaws of WYSIWYG as having anything
to do with stylesheets at all. WYSIWYG is simply not efficient to
navigate and organize for many document structures, especially for
hypertext documents. Since many users, even non-professionals, "live" in
a word processor I expect them to prefer efficient navigational tools
rather than inefficient ones. Thus graphical user interfaces will remain
important but the WYSIWYGness will be secondary.

> Draft
> and preview modes in a word-processor are nothing like structure vs. WYSIWYG
> view.  They're both WYSIWYG views with different trade-offs in resolution vs
> paper fidelity.

As soon as you "compromise paper fidelity" you are moving away from
WYSIWYG. In Word for Windows "Normal" view I cannot see headers,
footers, newspaper columns and some other layout features. In other
words, it isn't really very WYSIWYG at all! That is a recognition that
while I am writing my document I don't want to be distracted by those
things. (Some) Generated content and (some) other advanced stylesheet
features fall into the same category of things that I do not want to be
distracted by.
 
> I absolutely agree that WYSIWYG views can make things much more difficult to
> achieve and difficult for the user to understand (e.g. what's the feedback for
> an arbitrary DIV in a WYSIWYG editor?  What are the operations for manipulating
> content into or out of the DIV?).  But that's the price to pay.

That's the price to pay for what??? When the WYSIWYG view of a document
is an efficient representation of it (which is the case for many simple
documents) then it should be used. When it complicates the interface
rather than simplifying it, WYSIWYG should be tossed, just like anything
else.

 Paul Prescod
Received on Saturday, 10 May 1997 05:42:53 GMT

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