Adding a compile wizard that will walk new users through the compile process step-by-step

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zeddd
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 6:51 pm Post

I'm not advocating for scrapping the current compile feature. I think it's an important feature for experienced users who want the ability to fine tune every detail of their compiled document. On the contrary, the suggested wizard would be geared towards new users. Users who may be intimidated by the complexity of scrivener and eventually give up on the product.

The wizard would guide them through the process by asking simple questions or giving visual references, when applicable, to help them select the proper formatting for their project. The wizard could be as long or short as necessary but in the end it would gathered all the information and output the document without the user ever having to look at the compile window.

Obviously they would lose a great amount of control in the formatting, but a compile wizard would simplify the process greatly and reduce the amount of confusion surrounding the compile feature. When they've become more comfortable with the product they can begin exploring some of the more advanced features.

Thoughts?

jc
jcarman
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:05 pm Post

I've struggled with Compile. It's full of useful features and can be overwhelming. From what you say, a wizard would remove some of that.

I suggest an explanation in the manual that explains more detail the already detailed explanation, along with more imagery to that end. Perhaps more about Project Settings and the relationship it has to Compile.

More detail in how to use the dialog would be very helpful:
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jc
jcarman
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:08 pm Post

Had a technical issue...

Sometimes I find I cannot edit the text in the part of the window with the ruler. Sometimes, yes. Why? The parts here need more explanation, I think.

Thanks for reading.

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kewms
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:08 pm Post

Have you been through the Interactive Tutorial project?

The challenge in creating such a wizard is that just because a user is new to Scrivener, that doesn't mean that they are new to writing, or that their project is at all "basic." A wizard that could accommodate a novel, a screenplay, a legal brief, and a technical thesis -- to name just a few of the projects that "new" Scrivener users often have -- would very quickly become just as complicated as the Compile command itself.

Katherine
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kewms
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:10 pm Post

jcarman wrote:Had a technical issue...

Sometimes I find I cannot edit the text in the part of the window with the ruler. Sometimes, yes. Why? The parts here need more explanation, I think.

Thanks for reading.


Check the "override formatting" box. Until you do, changing the formatting won't do anything anyway, and so the function is disabled.

Katherine
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zeddd
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 8:34 pm Post

kewms wrote:Have you been through the Interactive Tutorial project?

The challenge in creating such a wizard is that just because a user is new to Scrivener, that doesn't mean that they are new to writing, or that their project is at all "basic." A wizard that could accommodate a novel, a screenplay, a legal brief, and a technical thesis -- to name just a few of the projects that "new" Scrivener users often have -- would very quickly become just as complicated as the Compile command itself.

Katherine


Complicated to code, perhaps, but that doesn't mean that the UI has to be complicated. The key is to not overload new users with too much information at once. Ask simple questions in terms they will understand. Provide visuals as a reference point. Branch the wizard based on the users response and ask the next series of questions. It's doesn't have to be complicated for the user. Obviously some restrictions may need to be applied to simplify the process, such as standardizing some formatting, but that's OK. It'll encourage them to learn more about the advanced compile features, when they're comfortable. The main thing is not scaring them away out the gate. You want to keep them engaged and wanting to learn more.

I've worked in the software development industry for nearly 20 years and participated in countless usability studies. The one constant over the years has been that complex software will always drive casual users away.

To answer your question, yes I have gone through the interactive tutorial. It's very well put together and a fantastic resource. But I think the tutorial , and the PDF manual for that matter, both suffer the same problem. They're great for users who are already invested in the software and want to learn more, but for new users who are still on the fence, it's almost information overload. Telling a prospective new users to read a 350 page manual is likely to just scare them away even faster. Neither IMO are substitutes for a well designed Wizard. Just my 2 cents.

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jcarman
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 9:50 pm Post

Checking the box did the trick. Thanks.

jc
jcarman
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:02 pm Post

I spoke too soon.

I get Times New roman with these settings.
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lunk
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Thu Oct 24, 2019 10:48 pm Post

zeddd wrote:I think the tutorial , and the PDF manual for that matter, both suffer the same problem. They're great for users who are already invested in the software and want to learn more, but for new users who are still on the fence, it's almost information overload.

There are books, you can buy. Some of them with a very low price, covering the basics. Let others than L&L earn a buck or two by teaching others to use Scrivener. L&L are working hard to get the software to work so don’t distract them.

I have two or three such books. They made it easier to grasp how Scrivener works.
I am a user, writing non-fiction and science, using:
* Mac Scrivener 3 on a Macbook 12”, MacBook Pro 13”, and iMac 27”, running different OS.
* iOS Scrivener 1 on an iPhone 11 Pro, iPad Air 9.7”, and iPad Pro 12.9”, all running the latest iOS

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kewms
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Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:18 am Post

jcarman wrote:I spoke too soon.

I get Times New roman with these settings.


What are you using to open the resulting file?

Does that software have access to the font you're using?

Katherine
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kewms
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Fri Oct 25, 2019 5:28 am Post

zeddd wrote:Complicated to code, perhaps, but that doesn't mean that the UI has to be complicated. The key is to not overload new users with too much information at once. Ask simple questions in terms they will understand. Provide visuals as a reference point. Branch the wizard based on the users response and ask the next series of questions. It's doesn't have to be complicated for the user. Obviously some restrictions may need to be applied to simplify the process, such as standardizing some formatting, but that's OK. It'll encourage them to learn more about the advanced compile features, when they're comfortable. The main thing is not scaring them away out the gate. You want to keep them engaged and wanting to learn more.


Standardized formatting is what the supplied Compile presets do. As soon as you step away from those, you open a Pandora's box of potential customizations. Scrivener supplies nine different sets of Script Settings alone, and still we hear from users who want something different. I think you are seriously underestimating the number of questions that would need to be asked and the number of options that would need to be offered.

A secondary issue is that we do not have nearly enough internal expertise in enough different formats to know what would be helpful. We risk creating an even worse mess for the users by asking questions that almost lead to what they want, but not quite.

Katherine
Scrivener Support Team

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zeddd
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Fri Oct 25, 2019 6:35 am Post

If you haven't done so already, I would suggest running a few focus groups to get feedback on what an average user would find useful. I think you might be surprised to find how little control casual users actually want. Most simply want to output their document with as few clicks as possible. I'd wager that the overwhelming majority could make do with the default formats if they were presented in a streamlined fashion so as to not overload their senses.

With regard to your second point, not having the expertise on some of the formats. That's a valid concern and a good reason to direct users to an advanced compiler. A wizard may never be able to account for every single format, nor should it even try. Focus groups would help here as well to determine which formats people are most interest in an and focusing on those for a wizard.

That said, you don't seem overly interested in this type of feedback to help improve the user experience so I'm not going to continue beating this dead horse. Best of luck to you.

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devinganger
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Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:09 am Post

zeddd wrote:I think you might be surprised to find how little control casual users actually want.


Ah, there's at least one disconnect. I wouldn't call a writer who is willing to spend time and money on a new program a casual user.
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Devin L. Ganger
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zeddd
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Fri Oct 25, 2019 7:29 am Post

Casual users can and do invest time and money in software all the time. What makes them casual users isn't whether or not they would pay for software but their level of comfort in using computer programs, in general. If it's confusing or difficult to use you may have a low conversion rate from a free trial to paying customers and that's a big deal.

Ki
Kinsey
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Fri Oct 25, 2019 8:19 am Post

This discussion seems likely to descend into a back and forth about what the best way for L&L to grow its business is :roll: Let's try to avoid that !

@zeddd, my experience with this company is that it is very willing to listen to its users, and to make changes based on their observations. Catering for screenwriting is one area that jumps to mind. In terms of Compile, if I recall correctly it was redesigned for Scriv3 based on the developer's vision, and also in large part on several years' worth of user feedback and suggestions. A bit more info here, if you have the time:
https://www.literatureandlatte.com/blog ... ng-compile

To the OP, there are several built-in, default Compile settings. These might be worth exploring, in terms of simplifying Compile. There also four videos on Compiling in Scrivener 3 available on Lit&Lat's Youtube site. Full list of Scriv3 videos here:
https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=P ... 2hlPoFzp4k