Amaya user interface

Dear developers of Amaya.

First I want to compliment you for the dedicated work you are doing. The
idea of Amaya is excellent and it shows complicated math formulas very well.

Unfortunately, the user interface of Amaya is terrible (version 6.1 for
Windows). Many keys, menus and other user interface elements behave
differently from what a Windows user expects. This is not user friendly.
Neither is it hancicap-friendly because many functions are only accessible
by using a mouse. Furthermore, the editing interface is full of errors that
produce wrong or weird results or make you loose your data.

The only reliable way to make a consistent user interface that works the
way users expect, is to use the standard interface elements that come with
the operating system or shell as much as possible. You have to concede that
a user-friendly program must contain user-interface modules that are
operating-system specific and thus non-portable.

I think that MathML is an excellent and much needed language. You guys at
W3C are doing a wonderful job developing standards like this, and it
deserves the widest possible use. It is therefore too sad that the use of
this standard is hampered by a poor editing tool. 

I would very much like to use MathML in my web publications, and I have
tried hard to make Amaya work for this purpose, but it is simply too
painful to use because of the many errors and oddities. I have downloaded
the latest version (6.1) and I don't see many improvements in the user
interface of the editor over previous versions. I have only tried the
Windows versions.

Many important operators and constructs in the MathML language are only
available by hand-coding. I think, therefore, that the pick-and-choose
templates should be expanded and subdivided into logical categories. Among
the operators that I miss are the important invisible operators
⁡ ⁢ and ⁣. A user-friendly
implementation of invisible codes imply a violation of the WYSIWYG
principle, but this principle is not sacred and not always as user-friendly
as its reputation says.

I believe that the popularity of MathML and other standards depends on the
availability of user-friendly authoring and reading tools, preferably with
open source. I am therefore taking the liberty of suggesting that you
redesign the user interface of Amaya using standard interface elements as
much as possible, and that you make usability tests of the product.

Agner Fog, Ph.D.

Received on Sunday, 5 May 2002 16:31:41 UTC