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Re: DSSSL and WYSIWYG Editing

From: Paul Prescod <papresco@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
Date: Mon, 12 May 1997 13:09:22 -0400
Message-ID: <33774EC1.2F6129C3@calum.csclub.uwaterloo.ca>
To: Adam Bosworth <adamb@microsoft.com>
CC: "'Terje@in-Progress.com'" <Terje@in-Progress.com>, Terry Crowley <tcrowley@oz.net>, "dssslist@mulberrytech.com" <dssslist@mulberrytech.com>, www-style@w3.org
Adam Bosworth wrote:
> 
> I'd have to agree with Terry about this point. I do actually think that
> an increasing percentage of pages will not be authored using WYSIWYG
> tools, but that being said, our experience with Word is consistant with
> Terry's comments. 90% of Word users don't use styles because it requires
> a top down systemic model for authoring that doesn't come naturally to
> them.  That doesn't mean that Styles are a bad idea, just that it is
> hard to show that Styles improve an authoring UI's usability.

The problem with standard word processors is that they penalize you in
several ways for using styles. 

First, the set of predefined styles is either to small (as in the
typical "NORMAL" stylesheet) or they are too large (as in the other
stylesheets). Let's take "contemporary report.dot". I count almost 100
styles, and no idea of context sensitivty so that when I'm in the middle
of a paragraph I am still offered the choice of "Footer Even" and
"Return Address". Furthermore so-called "character styles" are mixed up
with "paragraph styles".

By contrast, I have a whole toolbar dedicated to direct-formatting
features which do not require me scrolling down through 100 styles to
choose a reasonable one.

Also, when I ask to use the "Contemporary Report Template" I get a whole
bunch of information from some "FilmWatch" company which I must manually
delete. I asked for a stylesheet, not someone else's document! If I
stick with the unstructured "Normal" stylesheet I don't have this
problem, but I have to define all of the styles myself.

When I right click on a paragraph, I am given options to change its
font, paragraph style, etc., but not to change its style.

Corel WordPerfect better than Microsoft Word in some of these regards
and they are demonstrating a leadership in SGML implementation that will
be difficult for Microsoft to catch in the coming Days Of XML. I hope
that Corel and Microsoft give their repective divisions the funds they
needs to figure out some of these subtle usability issues and I hope
that the product managers for these products have the will to help their
users improve their productivity.

 Paul Prescod
Received on Monday, 12 May 1997 13:14:07 GMT

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