Friday, May 24, 2019

Who created this UI? It sucks!

As someone who writes regularly, I am often just as frustrated with Microsoft Word (or any other word processor I've ever used) as others report themselves to be with the user interfaces of EHR systems. Even Apple hasn't solved the problems I need solved.

How many clicks does it take to insert a figure reference to the figure below or above?  How much work is it to create a citation for the link I just inserted into the document?  These should be one button clicks, not the multi-step process they are today.

Why has this crime against writers continued to persist over decades? Nay, centuries... millennia even.

Word processor designers, here's a very clear specification for what I want:

Cross References

Given I have turned the option on, when I type the words "the figure|table|section below" or "the figure|table|section above" and there is a figure or table citation within the current section, insert a reference to it, or if a section, provide me with a list of sections to choose from that I can ignore if I want (so that if I continue typing, it just disappears).  And if I hit undo, treat the automatic insertion as the operation I want undone.

Hyperlinked Bibliography

Given I have turned the option on, when I insert a hyperlink, add new or reuse an existing citation source for the link if it already exists.  Find the individual author and creation date in the page data or metadata, or use a corporate author for the web site.  Include the URL in the citation.  If the URL includes a fragment identifier, find the text where that identifier appears and add it to the title of the reference (e.g., "Hyperlinked Biobligraphy in Who Created this UI? It sucks!).  If the link is to a page in a PDF (e.g., using #page=9 in PDF links) or other media format, treat it as a "document from a website", otherwise use "website" as the reference style.  Use the page title from the <title> tag in the page header.  Prompt me for missing information, but again, let this prompt dialog NOT interfere with my current work, and go away if I continue to type.  Same deal on undo here.  If I say undo, first undo the automatic insertion.

Finally: Stop turning on display formatting marks when I want to insert an index reference term.



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