The Great Big Scrivener Survey

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houthakker
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Wed Oct 14, 2020 3:52 pm Post

lunk wrote:Why not just drop it and forget it?


That would be a pity – it's a good product and a useful exercise.

Potentially useful, I think, to report difficulties and make suggestions if there is any reasonable possibility that there are feasible adjustments which might lead to fewer abandoned responses.

(Your question, though, may be more relevant to this thread than to feedback on the questionnaire itself : -)

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AnmaNatsu
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Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:14 pm Post

I did the survey and shared it in some author groups. At least one person has noted (and I'd agree) that would have been useful though is maybe giving an explanation of some of the terms like "scrivenings".

I've heard the word but I have no idea what it refers to. The word doesn't appear on any of the menus or in the UI of the older Windows version. I see it is now in 3, though I only know what it is now because it replaced what was called Document View?

There were a few others like that as well - where an explanation or even just a quick reminder, might have helped.

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KB
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Wed Oct 14, 2020 4:27 pm Post

AnmaNatsu wrote:I did the survey and shared it in some author groups. At least one person has noted (and I'd agree) that would have been useful though is maybe giving an explanation of some of the terms like "scrivenings".

I've heard the word but I have no idea what it refers to. The word doesn't appear on any of the menus or in the UI of the older Windows version. I see it is now in 3, though I only know what it is now because it replaced what was called Document View?

There were a few others like that as well - where an explanation or even just a quick reminder, might have helped.


Thanks for the feedback. Someone else said that about "Scrivenings". This honestly came as a surprise, because "Scrivenings" is one of the core features and is covered in the tutorial (where it has its own section), so in theory ( :) ) it's one of the first things people learn when using the software. (It should appear in the menu, but it alternates with document view so depends what mode the editor is in - so it's a good point that you may not see it there.) To be clear, I'm not saying anyone is wrong for not knowing this, it just genuinely didn't occur to me that users would be unfamiliar with the term given its intended centrality. To clarify, "Scrivenings" is the app's name for viewing any number of documents as though they are a single document in the editor. Unfortunately, I don't think I can now edit the survey to annotate this - from my tests, it seems that if you edit a survey in Survey Monkey, anyone currently taking a survey will be booted back to the beginning. It's useful to know that not all users know what "Scrivenings" mode is for the future, though.
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Thu Oct 15, 2020 9:16 pm Post

A more sensible survey than many that I get asked to fill in. I don't mind a long survey so long as I feel that the answers could be helpful, and your questions mostly seemed well thought out, There were one or two where the possible answers did not cover my responses, but nothing serious.

It was only after I finished that I thought of the feature suggestion that would be very useful. Being able to export, and ideally import, paragraph styles that could be read as names styles in word processors.

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Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:35 am Post

KB wrote:This honestly came as a surprise, because "Scrivenings" is one of the core features and is covered in the tutorial (where it has its own section), so in theory ( :) ) it's one of the first things people learn when using the software.

Yeah, but it’s one of those things that’s so core to the way the software works that it doesn’t feel like a “feature” that would have a name, in the same way that the ability to add punctuation in amongst the letters doesn’t feel like a “feature”.

It’s a compliment, really.
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Ti
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:22 pm Post

Filling in the survey took me more than 15 minutes, yes, but it was a real pleasure!

This very thorough survey reminds me of another thorough one, held two years ago by Joe Kissell, the publisher of the excellent Take Control Books. In that case, 85,3% of the respondents turned out to be 51 or older, and 49,1% even 66 or older. Moreover, 85,5% of the respondents were male. Which made Joe sigh "it looks like our audience is mostly a bunch of old guys".

But those were user guides, this is an application. I'm looking forward to (some of) the results!
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Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:38 pm Post

I answered the survey on my phone and without a keyboard, it's not easy to write at length.
I didn't know this thread existed when I posted my suggestion to use Wizards to address issues that users may have with perceived complexity. My examples with a poorly drawn example of how a Wizard might look/work is in my recent thread in the Wishlist forum.

viewtopic.php?f=4&t=63558

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Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:21 pm Post

After my first failed attempt, I revisited it, and this time managed to complete it. I didn't bother about timing how long it took. The only thing I found were that some selections had "often" as the "most frequent" choice, where I wanted to say "always", and there were somme questions with no space to elaborate—in my case questions about the Windows beta—where none of the answers were actually relevant to me.

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Fri Oct 16, 2020 10:13 pm Post

Timotheus wrote:
This very thorough survey reminds me of another thorough one, held two years ago by Joe Kissell, the publisher of the excellent Take Control Books.


I have a few of their books, very useful. I missed this survey, but that’s a very interesting read, especially about the subscription model for their business. Thanks for posting

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Sat Oct 17, 2020 7:21 pm Post

Timotheus wrote:This very thorough survey reminds me of another thorough one


Putting aside the relationship between thoroughness and efficiency, was there, in fact, a bit of a gap in the survey ?

(where some focal curiosity about learning and feature-discovery might have been expected ?)

A slight blind patch in the exercise is suggested by the exchange between @AnmaNatsu and @KB above.

Did the survey not probe how users acquire their knowledge of the app ?
Or how long they persisted (if at all) with the tutorial ?

@KB seemed rather baffled by the possibility that knowledge of the app, and discovery of its features and terminology, were not primarily determined by:

  • Their "intended centrality" in his own thinking
  • the provided tutorial

It's very common for users of any application to rely primarily on the discoverability of features in the course of experimental use.

Equally, it's not at all easy to engineer a successful ratio of effort-to-reward (for a wide range of users, with diverging needs, experience and cognitive styles) in tutorial material.

It would be interesting to know:

- What proportion of users read the tutorial at all
- What the average tutorial completion rate appears to be
- What the feedback is on the tutorial is
- What the feedback is on feature (and terminology) discoverability is.
Last edited by houthakker on Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:15 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:05 pm Post

Yes! Well put. Just because a thing is covered in the Tutorial, and the Manual, and questions have been answered about it on the forum and on social media doesn't mean that a user actually finds this thing out in the course of installing and using the software. Many folks just install and start using, turn to social media/forums/YouTube if they're confused, and consult documentation (including the tutorial) dead last. I agree this would be a good thing for L&L to investigate further
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KB
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Sat Oct 17, 2020 8:51 pm Post

Silverdragon wrote:Yes! Well put. Just because a thing is covered in the Tutorial, and the Manual, and questions have been answered about it on the forum and on social media doesn't mean that a user actually finds this thing out in the course of installing and using the software. Many folks just install and start using, turn to social media/forums/YouTube if they're confused, and consult documentation (including the tutorial) dead last. I agree this would be a good thing for L&L to investigate further


There were originally a tonne of questions about whether the user was aware of the help materials on the site, had completed the tutorial, and so on, but then the survey was getting huge (after all, there have already been complaints in this thread that fifteen minutes was too onerous an ask). So we decided to split all of those questions off into a separate marketing and support survey that we'll run in a couple of months. The current survey contains what we want to know right now, but of course no survey is perfect and it's very easy to recognise flaws in retrospect (but then surely that's one of the reasons for running a survey in the first place) - it seems, however, that we have a number of users who are experts in surveys and are taking some pleasure in picking apart everything that was wrong with ours. We may well have to run a survey asking users for feedback on our survey at this rate. :shock: One of the reasons we allowed so many areas for comments, though, was so that users could tell us if we'd missed anything with the questions.

Anyway, I'm not going to justify our survey any further, as we're very happy with it - we've had a great response, are hugely grateful to 20,000+ users who have completed it so far, and are looking forward to trawling through the results, which are going to be hugely informative and useful.
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Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:06 pm Post

Many folks just install and start using, turn to social media/forums/YouTube if they're confused, and consult documentation (including the tutorial) dead last.


But perhaps they should do it the other way around, and first of all take a close look at the excellent Tutorial. I know of course that many people don't consult User Guides and Tutorials, but that's their fault, and certainly not something to be encouraged.

Scrivener is a very powerful and versatile tool, which in order to be used to its full potential inevitably requires the investment of a certain amount of time and effort. If someone is not willing to do this, perhaps Scrivener is not for him/her, and he/she should stick with Bean, Pages or whatever.
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Sat Oct 17, 2020 9:47 pm Post

Timotheus wrote:
they should XYZ .... that's their fault XYZ .... certainly not something to be encouraged XYZ


Well, that's one perspective, and one style of cognition and human interaction.

A product like Scrivener, however, is only made possible by winning and retaining a large number of customers, and that is bound to bring a large variety of working contexts and learning styles.

Neither ignorance (nor intolerance) of that variety is really likely to help very much with the design of the GUI, or with reference and tutorial materials.

Knowing that a tutorial, or the element labelling in a GUI, works well for one client doesn't tell us anything about the balance of effort and reward that it brings to another.

Working contexts, mental contexts, and learning styles are all very variable. To keep the whole thing viable and thriving, it's better to have more insight than less.

( It's not for a thriving business that we remember the name of Procrustes.)

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Sat Oct 17, 2020 10:16 pm Post

A product like Scrivener, however, is only made possible by winning and retaining a large number of customers, and that is bound to bring a large variety of working contexts and learning styles.


I'm not in the position to judge whether what is said in the first part of the sentence is true or not. But what I know, is that Scrivener for what it costs, is a steal; for a similar application, one could also imagine another business model.

And perhaps it's ultimately all about the question what Scrivener is or should or could be, and for whom; and that's up to the developer to decide.

But apart from that: it's clear that we see certain things differently. And there's nothing wrong with that.
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