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
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.