[Suggestion] UI "bug": Columns Button on Outliner is ">" when it should be "..." or a cog

The current button, “>”, looks like a scroll or navigation arrow, especially since the Outliner UI is full of them:

Normally, a button like that would something related to function, e.g. a cog icon, or “…”

It’s underneath the header bar and indicates that this is how to expand the outline with more columns. That seems logical enough, doesn’t it?

True, it’s under the header bar, but arrows do tend to indicate navigation functions, as the OP mentioned. Not sure what icon would replace it though. Three vertical large dots, maybe?

As it is, I’m okay with it.

No, for three reasons.

  1. It doesn’t expand the outline, it pops up a window.
  2. Traditionally, “…” is used to indicate expand.
  3. Traditionally, an arrow implies scrolling or navigation.

By “traditionally”, I mean “how things tend to be done in UIs over the last 20 years”. These are arbitrary choices. For example, arrow could mean “poke UI designer with sharp implement.” You can make all sorts of arguments, but the user expectations will still follow tradition, not logic.

I reported this bug, because I didn’t notice the button and therefore had a less positive experience of Scrivener.

I would guess that it is probably because on the Mac, > is standard usage for opening new columns in the interface, and the Windows team have followed the UI of the Mac version.

So, on those grounds it’s not a bug, but it is up to KB and LAP to decide between keeping a common interface across applications or matching different conventions. The problem with the latter is where do you draw the line.


I will mark this as a suggestion for us to look at. The current ui element matches the ui of the Mac version, which Win 3 is trying to match as closely as is possible.

I will point out that that use of an angled bracket to indicate “more/less display” is not unprecedented in Windows – Microsoft Office uses it to collapse/expand the ribbon. Granted, they use a vertical-pointing angle bracket, not horizontal, but it’s not a foreign concept in the Windows UI and it does carry a specific meaning of “more/less to see here”