Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Apple Pages for iPad, correction and critique

By the useful method of reading a review article, I have found out that I fortunately was wrong about Pages for iPad: it does have options for changing font and the size of text. It was indeed almost too incredible to believe that it didn't, and I would not have believed it, if not for Apple's very occasional incredible choices, for example a mouse cord too short to reach around to the other side of a laptop and still be useable!

So, this is apparently the downside of the no-menu interface of a tablet (which has many positives)*. When you have many options, how do you present them without stealing too much screen space? In this case, I think Apple was too clever by far... a little button has a little "i" on it. This is normally "information", but in this case it serves up the various Styles possible for the text.

This is odd enough in itself, but then the pop-up menu with styles has no indication that it actually scrolls down to more options. It looks finished, no scroll bar or arrow or anything. But it does actually scroll, and when you do that, you find "text options" right at the bottom, which let you set text size, color, and font. That is very well hidden for options which normally is the very first thing you want to use when you set up a word processing document. Sigh.

* Well, all right, it actually does have menus, which make anything possible, the problem is, like we can see here, that there is not yet a standard way of presenting these menus, so the user can figure them out.


Philocalist said...

OK, I'll confess: I have zero interest in the iPad, iPhone etc, but something about them HAS got me curious!
ALL over ... EVERYWHERE I go online I seem to be bombarded by reviews and comments on this latest toy, often apparently lamenting shortcomings in the device or software that ultimately turn out to be no more than perceived problems, rather than real ones ... the answers or solutions invariably being embaressingly obvious when pointed out by someone else who has actually READ THE MANUAL! :-)

I know that this can take some application, with a little time and effort involved, but surely that's the way forward, rather than spit out a dummy and wait for someone else to 'fix' the problem?

(And NO, that's absolutely NOT a dig at you, Eolake, or anyone else specifically, it just seems to have become pandemic with the advent of the bloody iPad! :-) )

Jeez ... am I getting crankier as I get older or what?:-)

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

The thing is, as with most computer devices and software these days, there *is* no friggin' manual.
In this case there was just an intro document, which seemed to tell everything, and I did read that carefully. But it did *not* mention anything about that option.

Philocalist said...

Hmmm ... I know where you're coming from, I guess, at least to some degree ... though I find it just the slightest bit odd that ANYTHING, particularly something that is potentially complicated, does not come with a user manual.
I can easily remember when software, hardware etc all came with hard-copy instructions and guides that were at times invaluable, and although I can fully understand and appreciate the movement from that media to PDF files or whatever, I just do not comprehend a piece of kit being put onto the market and expecting users to find their own way around it ... which appears to be the case with the iPad, as everyone seems to be having a whinge about some aspect or other of it.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

"I find it just the slightest bit odd that ANYTHING, particularly something that is potentially complicated, does not come with a user manual."

It's a ridiculous situation, and it's bizarre that there's no revolt about it.

David Pogue has made a very successful business out of the situation, with the Missing Manuals imprint publisher.
I'll probably get that when it comes out about the pad. But by then I'll probably have figured out 90% anyway.

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

That book is here.

Philocalist said...

:-) Have a few venerable tomes from that very source!

Eolake Stobblehouse said...

Computing would be more difficult and boring if not for David Pogue. His old books, Mac for Dummies and Mac Secrets were so funny you read them cover to cover just for entertainment!