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Author Topic: How about a "Did You Know?" box?  (Read 333 times)

GarryP

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How about a "Did You Know?" box?
« on: July 13, 2016, 12:05:35 pm »
Scribus is a very complex piece of software that works differently to the way people think it might work if they have, for example, come from a word processing background.

Because of this, lots of beginners have trouble with basic concepts such as:
* Page layout - putting text in frames rather than just on the page;
* Font variants - you can't get Bold unless you have a Bold font variant;
* Image Frames - images aren't contained within the SLA;
...and many many others.

While it would be nice to expect all new users to read all of the tutorial on the Wiki it's not reasonable to expect everyone to. It's also not reasonable to expect everyone who's read it to remember it all.

This presents an issue where the same questions are asked - on this forum, or wherever - over and over again by different people. Sometimes this is because a few people can't be bothered to do a little searching for themselves, but a lot of the time it's simply because people don't know what to search for. For example, how would you know to search for "baseline grid" when you don't know what it's called? "Grid" is misleading and "Baseline" is a meaningless word unless you understand the context.

A lot of information is given in the Wiki - and in other places - but there is so much of it that it can be difficult for users to know where to look. This isn't just a problem for Scribus, most manuals on the web are - to a beginner - pretty impenetrable. A quick look at the documentation for any coding API will show a mass of information with multiple links to related information that will go over the heads of most beginners; not because they're unintelligent but because they're overwhelmed by the sheer scale of it all.

With this in mind it might be good if we could "drip feed" users with useful information in clear and concise "bite size chunks".

A lot of applications have a "Tip of the Day" dialog, which pops up each time the software starts, giving a quick tip on how to do something. Unfortunately, most of the time, these "Tip of the Day" dialogs don't give much more than a short-cut key or some similar way of doing things quicker.

This sort of thing is irrelevant to most beginners as they don't know how to do something the long way round yet and therefore have no need of knowing how to do what they don't know what to do yet but quicker. Therefore these "Tip of the Day" dialogs are usually switched off never to be seen again.

I think there may be a better way of doing this sort of thing. Instead of having a "Tip of the Day" dialog at start-up, what about a "Did you Know?" dialog that gives the user a short "mini tutorial" in some basic use of Scribus? This information would be different on each start-up.

For instance, on day one it could tell the user about frames and layout. On day two it could explain about font choice and variants. On day three it could explain about aligning objects. Etc. etc.

Each "mini tutorial" could be a self-contained HTML document (easily enough accommodated by Qt) which would contain no more than a page or so of text and images.

Scribus could come loaded with a selection of the most requested information but - as an extra bonus - it could also have a feature where it could check with a server to download information pages about stuff that's currently being asked about in forums etc. This extended feature could also be used to give users information about known bugs, making people aware of problems before they come up. Or it could point to features that are coming up in new versions. It could even be used as a "Scribus News" page. The possibilities are endless.

If these "mini tutorials" are made relevant and interesting then a lot of users will be less inclined to switch them off. If they learn good things then they're more likely to want to read more.

What does anyone else think about this? Is it a good idea? Is it a stupid idea? Would there be a better way of doing something similar? Is it something you would like to discuss?

a.l.e

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Re: How about a "Did You Know?" box?
« Reply #1 on: July 13, 2016, 12:55:57 pm »
hi garry,

for the last year i've been collecting notes for creating such mini tutorials

they are mostly composed by my answers to various questions, but also inspired other people questions and answers.

your "lengthy"  answer to http://forums.scribus.net/index.php/topic,2116.msg9503.html has led to:

https://github.com/aoloe/scribus-manual-getting-help/blob/master/NOTES.md

once i start having texts that can be published, i plan to do so on http://impagina.org (or at some better place).

in my experience, it's hard to get people to spontaneously read explanations, so my plan is rather to give them to the ones who are asking questions. or publish them in a way that  they can be found by googling... if they get well rated by the search engine :-)

I'm planning to use Markdown for writing the text, a format that is easy to convert to html.

of course, if we see that such text can be useful inside of Scribus, i'm all for getting them into there! but it's not a priority for me.

and, again of course, if somebody wants to help out: you're all welcome!

GarryP

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Re: How about a "Did You Know?" box?
« Reply #2 on: July 13, 2016, 03:56:43 pm »
Hi a.l.e.

It's good that something is being done about this sort of thing. There is a whole load of good advice and information all over this forum (and elsewhere) that isn't properly documented.

I've seen some great tricks and tips that help someone do something or get round something or other but the information just gets lost in the forum because, for example, it was an answer to a sidebar issue that can't easily be searched for. I'm sure that if someone took the time to trawl through the forum they'd find a whole world of goodness but there's so much other stuff to get through the task would be immense (and incredibly boring).

Maybe some kind of incentive could be given? For example, gather all of the relevant information from a ten threads, put it in some kind of order, publish it somewhere and you'll get your name in the Scribus credits. That sort of small but highly satisfying thing.

 

palmate