Windows UX guidelines

I love Scrivener for Windows to this point. Seriously. You all have made my year, just at the time when I was getting several indications I needed to get back into my writing (both professional and personal). In fact, you’ve dragged me kicking and screaming back into NaNoWriMo.

I was very happy to find out that Scrivener for Windows was a separate development effort than the main Mac project. In my experience, cross-platform apps that start strongly entrenched in one UX paradigm typically try to drag that across to the other platforms and usually end up weaker for the experience. As a result, they artificially limit their audience because many potential users end up not using a great program because it doesn’t feel correct.

I already mentioned one instance of this behavior in the 1.3 announcement topic, but I wanted to mention a couple of other behaviors that I’m seeing in the Options dialog. I realize that right now you’re focusing more on bugs and blockers than you are on fit and finish, but by throwing these out now

(BTW, Microsoft produces freely available Windows UX guidelines here: msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/aa511258.aspx )

The Manage button for loading and saving configurations really is awkward and un-intutive for a Windows application. This should either be moved to separate menu options on the Edit menu, or at the very least moved to a separate tab in the Options dialog itself.

Good tab behavior is covered in pages 178-180 of the UX guide I mentioned above. In the current version of Scrivener, the tabs use a horiztontal scroll which is not recommended. Native Windows apps use multiple strategies to get around this, such as having multiple rows of tabs (witness ADU&C) or, in newer apps, swithcing to the vertical tabs instead as mentioned. I initially missed the tab scroll controls and I’m definitely an experienced user, so my concern is that using non-standard controls like that will obscure configuration options for non-technical users.

Again, I really love Scrivener so far and I’m happy as can be that it’s being ported. I just want to help make it be the best program it can be – and as a Windows program, I would prefer to see some effort spent making it feel like a Windows app.

Maybe the final version could have an option page for selecting pre-configured configuration bundles to tailor the behavior for native Windows users, Mac users who are crossing over, etc.?