Cork Board Options - Somewhat Obtuse

Alright, I haven’t yet run through the entire interactive tutorial, so this is a somewhat shame-on-me matter.

However, on the other hand this is one of those things that someone who is computer literate would expect in the first place.

Bluntly: Why would you divide up the options for the cork board into two entirely separate elements in the user interface?

Here, I’ll show you what I mean.

One set of options you can only access through the Options widget.

The other set you can only access through the cork board options widget by clicking the icon at the bottom-right.

These are options that should, by all rights, appear in the same space together. If I’m playing around with the size and ratio of the index cards, but want to see what they look like with rounded corners instead, or I think that the status stamp now looks funny in the new size of the cards, then I shouldn’t have to jump into an entirely separate part of the UI.

Please forgive the brusque wording. It’s just that suddenly discovering this really needled me.

Also, may I suggest another option for cork board appearance? How about something to change the angle at which the status stamp appears on the index cards?

Because the options in the options dialogue are ones you would normally set and forget (after an initial exploratory play, possibly). The ones actually in the cork board interface are those you’re more likely to change regularly to meet changing immediate needs. For example, the number of cards across you want to see may differ if you have a split view, rather than single view. As you can change the view configuration several times in a session, and each time a slightly different view of the cork board may be comfortable, it would be intensely irritating to have to navigate the options dialogue just to change the number and size of the cards each time. Much better to have these settings immediately available, without the distraction of the less frequently used options.

You’ll find this is a theme in Scrivener: in general ‘set and forget’ options are in the Options/Preferences, ‘operational settings’ are in the interface ready for immediate use.

I already know how to find them.

And I do not agree with your assessment. Even if some of these are ‘set and forget’, it doesn’t make sense to have them divided up like this - it’s counter-intuitive at best.

Let’s put it this way, you find it counter intuitive; all the thousands of other users on either platform do not seem to have ever found it counter intuitive since no one has ever brought it up before, and the development team have a very clear idea why it should be this way as @Brookter pointed out.


I’ll be blunt, here. I don’t appreciate the way you act as if this doesn’t matter. Yes, I’m one person. But how many license holders for Scrivener even bother with registering an account here?

I’m not the only one that feels this way. I’m just the only one who’s bothered to come here and say something about it.

Look. I have Asperger’s Syndrome. Which means that for me, everything has its own box and label. And when I come across something like this? You might as well drive a hot nail into my head.

You don’t put a torque measuring wrench in the same drawer as the rest of your socket wrench set. So why would you put each one in its own drawer just because they have different driver sizes? No, you put them in the same drawer along with the rest of your precision tools like your micrometers, calipers, and feeler gauges.

I honestly don’t get why it doesn’t strike you as elaborate and overcomplicated. Any software engineer will tell you: the simpler it is, the better. Hell, that goes for just about any engineering discipline.

Your profile says that you lectured at a university. Go and ask your colleagues in the IT or Engineering departments. Quote me, even. Oh, here, take this quote. It’s by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - the same fellow that wrote that wonderful book, The Little Prince.

Hi. I’m a fellow Asperger’s traveller, let me see if I can take a swing at explaining the rationale.

The controls in the menu dialog are as has been previously termed “set and forget” – they tend, over the life of the a project, to be set initially, maybe tweaked once or twice, but more or less left alone from then on. Some writers may use some of them more often, some less, but over the average lifetime of Scrivener, these are the configuration options that average out this way.

The controls in the Corkboard Options widget are more “real-time” options – you’re working with your data on the corkboard and need to make an immediate tweak to the size/arrangment of your cards. This widget can be there on-screen, next to your data but not covering your access to it, so you can be making edits in your cards, tweaking the size, making more edits, etc. in a single flow without having to go into the menu, open a new dialog that covers your data, make a change, dismiss the menu, etc.

It’s the same kind of thinking why your environmental controls in your car are usually in the center console instead of on the dash behind the wheel. Speed, RPMs, oil temp, battery, lights – those are all important pieces of information you’re constantly monitoring as you drive, so need to be where you can see them with a very small movement of your eyes from the road. The envirionmental and entertainment displays and controls are not. Trying to stuff them all up there would make it more cluttered and harder to see the information you need. (Oh, for the day when we get real HUDs for the realtime data!)

Hope this helps.

Your TV remote has buttons to change channels immediately, but the settings to tune those channels are off in a set and forget panel somewhere. In email programs, the command to check for new email is immediate, but the command to change the port and authentication details is in a set and forget panel somewhere. Your browser has immediate controls to open a new tab from a link by clicking, but the options to control how the click acts are in a set and forget panel somewhere.

This is not unusual, nor is it bad design as programs of any complexity would be unusable without some separation like this. So, you can argue if you wish that specific control X should be in panel A rather than B, but it seems a bit extreme to suggest that a program is badly designed because it follows industry practice, don’t you think?