Conference Publication Details
Mandatory Fields
Peter Flynn;
Balisage 2009
Why writers don't use XML: The usability of editing software for structured documents
Scopus: 1 ()
Optional Fields
XML, LaTeX, and other structured-document systems are used daily by those experienced in computing, and by technical authors in many fields. Outside these areas, however, there is a widespread lack of adoption, or resistance to these systems. This forms a barrier to the creation and use of reliable, persistent, unencumbered, and reusable documents, which in turn adds a hidden burden to the use of corporate, institutional, and personal information. This paper reports on a study of the usability of editing software for structured documents. It extends the research outlined in earlier work, where it was found that there was no essential difference in markup operations between any of the editing software tested, and that any distinction was possibly more attributable to the interaction design of the interfaces. The objective is to see if changes to the interface to make it user-centered rather than technology-centered could result in greater acceptability to authors and editors both inside and outside the IT and markup fields, and thereby lead to an improved adoption rate of structure-guided writing and editing software. The earlier analyses of software and features sought by users were extended to cover more recent data, and a survey of existing users was conducted to determine how the interfaces were being used. The results are being applied to construct a model of the interface which can be tested for usability compared with existing systems.
Silmaril Consultants
Grant Details