Re: feature usage in my office

Subject: Re: feature usage in my office
From: Randy Kramer (
Date: Mon May 07 2001 - 07:48:31 CDT


Thanks very much for the response and analysis! I appreciate you
digging into _how_ the documents used headings.

Looks like your experience matches mine -- I love styles, but I found
few other people who shared my enthusiasm. (Even with all the
evangelism I could muster.)

I agree that it would be good to encourage more widespread use of
styles. The transition to using styles in HTML should help.

Thanks again,
Randy Kramer

Ron Ross wrote:
> Randy Kramer <> writes:
> > I'd like to request that, for future surveys, we also include the
> > category "Headings". I'd like to get a feel for how many documents use
> > the collapsible outlining feature, but I don't know a good way to do
> > it. Using headings is not a good indicator,
> This is a really great point. It also underscores what I have to say
> about styles. The use of headings is a styles issue. The fact that
> headings give you an outline view in Word might be expected to encourage
> the use of headings, and of styles in general. This does not seem to be
> the case.
> headings/style (47 docs):
> 1 - simple, 1 heading-1
> 7 - confused, inconsistent headings
> Of the 47 documents, only 8 showed any application of styles. Of these,
> 7 were hopelessly confused and inconsistent: heading levels did not
> match the intended structure of the document, styles were misapplied,
> the formating of the text at any particular point sometimes did and
> sometimes did not reflect the formating resulting from a reapplication
> of the style ostensibly in use...
> The remaining, eighth document was very simple, structurally speaking,
> consisting of lots of body text ("Normal") topped by a single heading
> ("Heading 1"); the fact that reapplying the "Heading 1" style to the
> heading produced no change of formating -- the formating properties of
> the Heading 1 style matched the formating in place -- indicates that the
> author actually thought out its use.
> Mostly working with more complex documents, the other 7 authors
> obviously also thought about style usage, and often seem to have put
> considerable effort at defining particular styles, but they were just as
> obviously incapable of consistency in their definition and use of
> styles, sometimes thinking in terms of style, sometimes not, sometimes
> defining a style for a particlar heading or caption when they had
> already defined or used one for the same type of structural element by
> another name.
> Note, also, that if you apply _no_ styles, _no_ headings, then my copy
> of MS Word 97 does a reasonable job of showing a rather flat outline of
> the document, indiscriminately picking out the short lines as unordered
> headings. Thus, seven of the eight authors who used styles would have
> done better, in terms of such simple outline layout, to apply no style
> at all and leave everything to MS Word.
> I am not very surprised by the results of this small survey, although I
> was not expecting up to 8 people out of 47 to have actually thought
> about styles -- that's 17%!
> This is *not* an indictment of word processor users. The authors of the
> documents I've reported on are educated, intelligent people, and many
> have a long publishing history. If educated and intelligent people are
> still confused by style usage in the word processors they've been using
> for years, then the onus is unquestionably on the design of those word
> processors.
> Ron
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