When talking about UI reform, the thing I hear most is that hard formatting needs to die and everyone needs to be forced to use styles. While I don’t think hard formatting should be abandoned completely, I do think that styles are an underused feature. And it’s underused because it’s a hassle to use. Creating styles is hard, editing styles is hard, and even applying styles takes a considerable while longer than simply hitting that “bold” button up at the top.
So here’s my attempt at making styles simpler. It’s a series of mockups for the tablet, but it would work the same way on the desktop.
The style list is drastically slimmed down. Only the first member of ordered groups of styles (like Headings) is shown until that member is used in the document — e.g. once you use “Heading 1″, the list will also show “Heading 2″, and once you use “Heading 2″, the list will also show “Heading 3″, etc. The list is also shorter because paragraph and character styles have separate drop-down menus.
Adding styles and editing them is done right within the menu — there’s a toolbar up at the top. Pushing edit shows all the included styles:
Within the style editing dialog, there’s a “Pin” button and a text box for a textual icon. When pinned, this icon ends up in the style bar, a toolbar for pinned styles that floats above a selection. It makes getting to commonly-used styles easy, easier than to Bold or Italic with a mouse, because a mouse has to cover less distance to reach these style buttons:
Looking forward to feedback. :~)