Re: Designing for style use

Subject: Re: Designing for style use
From: Gerry Kirk (
Date: Sun May 20 2001 - 21:57:46 CDT

At 17/05/01 03:58 PM, you wrote:
>Gerry writes:
>>Here's an idea: what if there was a rectangle in the left margin at the
>>start of each paragraph that shows the style for that paragraph and also
>>allows for that paragraph's style to be changed? That way, the user is
>>reminded as he/she types that each paragraph has a particular meaning, i.e.
>>it's a title, subtitle, heading, section, list, etc. After pressing the
>>Enter key, the cursor is next to the box (since the box appears at the top
>>left of the current paragraph, and can immediately select a new style if
>>the default one is not the desired one.
>I think it's a good idea as long as the rectangle or symbol is descriptive.
>The little doodads used by Word and WP are so generic that, when I see
>them, I wonder why they are there - and I'm an avid user of styles.
>As I think about it, to me it is important to make styles as intuitive as
>typing itself. Typing and word processing are most often done by
>instinctive feel, rather than conscious decision making. So we
>instinctively hit five <tabs> without thinking that there might be a
>better way to do it with styles. Oddly enough, I think this is why
>WordPerfect is so popular among clerical staff. WP has many formatting
>keystroke shortcuts that touch typists love. What they miss, however,
>without knowing it, is that with styles they could apply eight or nine
>formatting commands with a single keystroke. Even so, they would rather
>hit F7 several times and then another several keystrokes to make a
>paragraph single spaced than take the time to set up a paragraph style to
>do all of this with one keystroke. No matter how you slice it, a user
>must first set up the styles - or modify already created styles. This
>requires conscious decision making which runs counter to the instinctive
>typing process. We want to just open the document and start typing.

Actually, what I was thinking is that there would be a small box and inside
the box the name of the style for the current paragraph is displayed. One
could then click on this box to change the current style by picking from a
dropdown list, and, to incorporate your suggestion of keyboard shortcuts,
have a shortcut that automatically pops up the list. Mapping shortcuts to
specific styles sounds like a good idea also.


Information System Specialist,
Mennonite Central Committee

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