Subject: Re: Word's take on MSDI (was Re: FAQ -- why the MSDI interface? (aka, no pagers please))
From: Andrew Dunbar (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Date: Mon Aug 20 2001 - 07:21:25 CDT
Paul, you seem to be going out of your way to
this in a way which makes it sound complicated. I've
never been surprised by it and I was new to Word. I
found it very intuitive. It seems to me to be MDI
behaviour implemented with SDI windows. You will
have more than one empty window. The epmty window is
a special feature that only appears when you close all
the documents but not the entire app. It doesn't have
to be explained to anybody's grandmother because it's
obvious what is happening. It's keeping the
menus/toolbars around so you can start a new document.
As far as the Word "drop action" goes, I hate the way
MS does that too. But I've found you can drop an icon
anywhere in the menu area and it will open as a
document - you don't have to close the document and
drop into the greyed out area - though I guess that
would make aiming easier (:
--- Paul Rohr <email@example.com> wrote: > At 04:15
PM 8/19/01 -0400, JAL wrote:
> >Screenshots, as requested. (I ran in and grabbed
> somebody's Windows box,
> >so the colors are non-standard.)
> Thanks for the screenshots. They're *very* helpful.
> >As you can see, MSDI Word 2000 still has a close
> box for what was the
> >child window in previous versions, even though it
> normally opens docs in
> >separate parent windows (look at the far right of
> the menubar. When the
> >last doc is closed, Word reverts to the plain
> background. The program
> >stays open, and a new doc can be opened or dragged
> in from Explorer.
> Oh dear. That's even worse than I feared. It's
> arguably better than MDI,
> but the taint of their MDI legacy still lingers in
> the form of those two
> close boxes per frame. After promoting MDI for so
> long, I suppose they felt
> that a more gradual transition for their existing
> users would be a good
> idea, but ...
> ... gack, what a hack!
> Knowing how thorough they are, not only did they put
> that stupid
> document-level close box on the menu bar, but it
> probably moves to the
> toolbar if the menu is disabled (or do they no
> longer allow that?) So long
> as that widget is visible, it would allow you to
> close the document in that
> window (leaving it empty) without closing the
> application-level window.
> Now I see how their UI probably works, though. One
> of the widgets maps to
> File / Close, and the other maps to either:
> - Window / Close (which implies File / Close) or
> - File / Exit (which implies close *everything*)
> ... depending on how many documents and windows are
> currently open. Right?
> It's overly complex, but at least it's consistent.
> Or is it? I've also heard people say that if
> there's more than one document
> open, then File / Close maps to Window / Close (ie,
> the outermost close box
> widget rather than the "inner" one). If so, then
> there's no one-to-one
> mapping between menus and widgets at all, because
> the "final" File / Close
> *does* only close the document and not the window.
> Ick. What a choice. Either all File / Close
> operations leave empty,
> reusable windows cluttering the screen (equivalent
> to clicking the "inner"
> close box), or else you have inconsistent behavior
> -- sometimes the window
> goes away ("outer" close) and sometimes it doesn't
> ("inner" close).
> I'd hate to explain this all to my Grandmother,
> Having seen this, and unless I've missed some
> crucial detail here, then my
> preference for our *much* simpler model is, if
> anything, even greater. For
> - we only have a single "outer" close box,
> - File / Close is always equivalent to Window /
> Close, and
> - when you close the last document, you're done.
> It may not be what everyone expects at first, but
> it's easy to understand,
> *very* easy to explain, and (I hope) reasonably easy
> to get used to.
> Indeed, I share Nils' belief that most people will
> recognize the Netscape
> similarities without even thinking about it.
> >We had a user who was frustrated when she dragged a
> doc from Explorer
> >into Word and, instead of opening, it was embedded
> in the doc that was
> >already open. She had to be taught to click the
> close box for her doc
> >before doing this.
> Yep. That's probably another reason Word's UI
> designer liked the MDI-style
> second close box -- it creates an obscure way to
> allow the drop target to
> mean "open the document" instead of "embed the
> I suppose that's a real design constraint, but it
> seems like a pretty
> contorted solution. I understand why you'd want the
> default drop action for
> any other file type to be "embed" rather than
> "open", but as your user
> demonstrated, who wants to embed one Word document
> inside another? If you
> drop a Word document on Word, don't you want to open
> I'd think a far more plausible solution would be to
> just special-case that
> one file format with "open" semantics for drops
> instead. But I don't work
> in Redmond, so maybe they had other design
> constraints to deal with.
> pixel pusher
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