spell checking and search woes

Amaya users, lovers, and developers:

I continue to be baffled and frustrated by how spell checking and search  
works in Amaya, and want to comment about why this is a problem for me.

The most fundamental problem is Amaya's insistence on being idiosyncratic.  
A number of thoughtful people have written about problems associated with  
user interface design - be it web sites or application programs. As I read  
this material, what I encounter repeatedly is the idea that one should NOT  
surprise the user, that it is best to know what they expect and then to  
deliver it. In other words, simply make the user happy, rather than making  
them work needlessly to figure out your interface.

I write a lot, and I write every day. I use MS Word, but I also use  
several different text editors - since much of my writing is in web page  
format. Those programs all have similar spell check and search functions.  
If you know one you can probably work the others. But not Amaya. Amaya's  
not like the others. I hate this. I've been using Amaya for several months  
now, and use it probably every day. I find that I use it more and more, in  
fact, because it very much shortens my production time in writing web  
pages. But I cannot make my peace with how spell check and search  
functions work with this program. It's different, it's unpredictable, and  
I find it inscrutable. I still don't understand how to get it to work  
reliably. This is very much a bad thing. It simply shouldn't be this way.

Say that I want to spell check an 18 page document I've just written in  
Amaya (this was the case last night). I already know that I can't predict  
what will happen when I push F7 to start the spell check function.  
Sometimes it just won't work. Other times it immediately opens the  
structure window and starts checking the text in THAT window (WHAT???  
WHY?? I don't want this at all. What just happened? < - that's what I'm  
thinking at this point.) It's so simple: when I press F7 I want a spell  
check of the text in the window which currently has focus. Nothing more,  
nothing less. I do NOT want something strange and unexpected to happen.  
Why can't I have this? Too often I just give up, load my web page into  
another editor and use that, because it simply always works like I expect  
it to work. Why doesn't Amaya give me this experience?

Next, I want to do a search of my text. What's my expectation? That I'm  
going to have to do too much thinking, and that maybe I'll get it to work,  
but just as often I won't. Too often. The search function opens with  
"Checking...after selection" as the default option checked. WHY???? No  
other program I use does this. I practically NEVER want this. I cannot  
imagine why I would. I have to grab my mouse and correct this nonsense  
('check the whole document, for Pete's sake!!!'), and then what usually  
happens is...nothing at all. It just won't work. I cannot explain this. I  
have NO idea what's going wrong. Worse, I cannot image how the program  
could be working like this at this point in its development. I'm just  
baffled by this. These functions as so basic to program function.

If you're thinking at this point, "he just doesn't understand, so let's  
explain it to him", you're headed the wrong direction. The goal is to not  
HAVE to explain, with very basic functions like spell check and search, is  
it not? It's like web site navigation - if it's not obvious how to work  
it, then the design's wrong. It has to be obvious. End of discussion.

I don't know why I keep having problems. It cannot be that I don't "get"  
computers. I've programmed for years - Fortran, Basic, Pascal, Python,  
Ruby. I'm not a pro, but I usually get the job done. I've been wrangling  
my own web sites for years, which is why I so much appreciate having Amaya  
to work on my most current one - http://tc.bestmindhealth.com/ At this  
point I expect not to have to fight with the programs I use. Amaya excels,  
compared to the other editors I use, in a number of areas. But, in spell  
check and search - oh my god, please tell me what I see isn't true. But,  
I'm afraid it is.

Please, is there any chance this can be fixed in the near future?

-- t.

Tom Cloyd, MS MA, LMHC
Private practice Psychotherapist
Bellingham, Washington, U.S.A: (360) 920-1226
<< TC.BestMindHealth.com / BestMindHealth.com >>
<< tomcloyd@bestmindhealth.com >>

Received on Friday, 24 February 2006 10:07:46 UTC