The University of Sussex

Starting from the Writer: Guidelines for the Design of User-Centred Document Processors.

Mike Sharples, Lyn Pemberton

Current computer software for document processing has largely evolved from programs designed to do other things. In this paper we advocate a new approach to the design of writing software based specifically on the requirements of the writer. The evolution of writing software from line editors to desktop publishing systems is sketched out, and contrasted with a writer-centred approached, based on our current understanding of the writing process, which both supports the writer's natural writing techniques and provides ways to externalise cognition. Finally we offer a set of guidelines for software designers taking a writer-centred approach to the design of document processors.

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