I’m taking a course from Gwen Hernandez on using Scrivener, and I sent her a long email about the interface. She suggested posting it here, so here goes. In my next message, I will post an elaboration/amendments.
It appears, by the way, that suggestions of simplifying the Scrivener UI may be controversial. I’m not suggesting simplifying what it does; I am suggesting making the methods for doing analogous things more consistent, and therefore easier to learn.
I’m having trouble remembering “where to click, for what.” Can you help?
As far as I can tell, a lot of the choices are quite arbitrary and require pure memorization. For example, in this lesson you write:
I cannot think of a logical reason why clicking on the icon should bring up 3 very different choices like:
Reveal in Binder
Lock in Place
These 3 choices are very different from each other, and don’t have much association with the icon, or the location of the icon to the left of the file’s name, that I can see. There are many similar examples.
When we Lock in Place the Inspector, a completely different method is used: clicking on a lock icon, at the bottom of the inspector window, versus clicking on a file type icon (with pulldown menu), at the top of the relevant window. There is plenty of space in either the header or (better) footer of the document window to put a lock icon, which would make the document window and inspector window more consistent about how to lock them.
Are there underlying principles in the UI design that I am missing? If so, can you point them out as we go along? Or (which seems more likely) did the developer just throw the choices of where to click, for what, together rather arbitrarily? I realize you can’t change his choices, but perhaps you can explain them, and make them easier to remember.
Some kind of clever cheat sheet might also be nice. For example:
To lock a window, so that changing the selection in the binder does not alter what the window shows:
If it’s an editor window, click on the icon at the top left of the window
It it’s the inspector window, click on the lock icon at the bottom right of the window.