Two simple UI suggestions

Hi, all. I’ve really taken to Scrivener. Like many people, it seems, it’s really helped me, and as I adjust to it it helps me even more. In my experience, it’s very rare to say that about an application, so I’m very grateful for your vision and hard work.

Here are two UI suggestions I’d like to offer:

(1) In the Editor, using the index-card layout: When there are too many cards than fit on the screen and I want to reorganize them, a normal UI approach would to establish a scrolling zone’ near the top and bottom of (or slightly above and below) the Editor itself. Dragging an object (in this case an index card) would cause the Editor to scroll and reveal the hidden cards. Scrivener doesn’t seem to do this. It should.

(2) In the Inspector, the title bars separating the different regions should be adjustable – so that, for example, I can have long index card and a short document or project note, rather than vice versa, which is the default.

If Scrivener does these things and I’m somehow missing them, I’d appreciate pointers.

That’s it! Thank you.

  1. That doesn’t sound right; you should be able to drag a card up into areas of the corkboard you could not previously see via zone scrolling as you describe. Do note that since there are other elements around the corkboard that accept index card drops; you need to stay within the corkboard. So just approach the edge and halt to let it scroll.
  2. Not having long index cards is a design decision meant to encourage succinct usage of the feature. Of course if you’d rather use it for expositions, you can adjust index card size in the Corkboard with the aspect ratio setting; dragging the Inspector out wider will increase how much can be seen on a card at once, too. To increase the size of the notes area; collapse the Synopsis and Meta-data panels with the disclosure arrows.

It’s unbelievable that you replied so quickly. So great!

For the first: indeed you’re right, and I stand corrected. Still, I find it’s quite hard to get it to do what I want because the zone is very small. I hope you’ll consider experimenting with widening it. In the meantime, I’ll experiment with getting it to do what I need. :slight_smile:

For the second: Here’s my thinking: I use Scrivener in a sort of academicky way, so index cards are great for recording quotations, which can run a bit long. (It’s not my fault if our predecessors banged on a bit, is it?) The ability to have those longish blocks handy, without getting in the way of what I’m writing, would be extremely useful. If it’s a deliberate design choice, I can respect that; but it does seem a bit procrustean. What’s the cost of adding that flexibility?

That’s just a thought; I don’t intend to debate it. It’s very clear that Scrivener is driven by a clear design philosophy, which is why it’s such a tremendous piece of software

Thanks again!

Ah, yes, and in that particular usage larger cards are quite nice, I do agree. Like I say, you can drag the Inspector out to be larger and fit quite a bit of text in it. If you have the screen space to spare, give it a shot.

I did also forget to mention that there are some technical difficulties with making these three pieces resizeable. Split views in Cocoa are notorious for being badly designed internally, and hugely difficult to work with; and it gets worse the more you nest them. Since the two top components in the Inspector are shared between the first three meta-data panes, a lot of wiring is needed between them all to keep things in sync, and its very easy to corrupt the interface with offscreen changes like that. So while a splitter in the Snapshots pane isn’t “impossible” it’s much more difficult with the first three.

Keith will have to comment on if the drag zone is adjustable. The gradient does feel a bit tight to me as well. The ramp up from slow to fast is very small. Maybe even just 10 extra pixels would help.

The drag zone is all handled by the scrolling code in OS X, so I’m afraid there’s nothing I can do about that, sorry - you’ll find the same issue in many views.

Ioa is correct about the technical difficulties in allowing an adjustable index card - having adjustable pane sizes over there would mean a complete redesign of the inspector, in fact. Not that I rule it out for version 3.0!

Thanks and all the best,

I’m totally convinced.