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Evil Overlord wrote

Your mockup looks okay, but I'm a little confused. You say that duplicate
controls are bad, but you included duplicate direct formatting controls in
your bottom toolbar. For me, the whole point is to shift controls to the
sidebar, and avoid toolbars. I don't think there's any problem with
duplicate controls, so long as it's clear they do the same thing.

Those are not in fact duplicate controls. The bottom bar is direct
formatting, while the sidebar is stylistic formatting. What that means is
that all the controls shown on the right edit the current selected style,
while the bottom bar formats the current selected area/where the cursor
is--it's contextual, and does not edit the current style. That's why there's
no option to choose the typeface or font size there (although you could if
you pressed the "more" button which  I now see didn't make it into the
mock-up) The idea is that this would make it incredibly simple to edit,
define, and apply styles--instead of editing the current style by selecting
a style from the stylist and looking through cumbersome dialogues that get
in the way of the document. At the same time, editing options that are
better done directly--that only have to do with individual words or parts of
words--are preserved in the bottom bar. 

Evil Overlord wrote
I don't think it would be unreasonable to have a default sidebar, but make
it customizable so that those who wish to can put their own controls where
they want them. Far better than trying to divine the correct placement of
single controls would be to allow users to create the interface they're
comfortable with; the tools I use most often won't be the ones you choose.
Most software seems to have headed this way in recent years, and it's a
good thing.

Customization is /okay/, but my point is that it has to be limited so that
it doesn't diverge too far from the actual design of the software--it needs
to happen within constraints. For example, you could rearrange elements in
individual sections of the sidebar, or add appropriate elements. You could
add whatever buttons you want to the end of the standard toolbar--I for one
like to be able enter a formula really quickly, but don't think that
necessarily needs to be there for everyone. The idea is that the actual
purpose of each part of each element of the ui should not be broken in
customization. Meaningful customization is not about radically changing the
layout and button placements, or arranging every button in the exact place
you want it just for the fun of it--it's about getting to needed
functionality quickly. It shouldn't be a substitute for learning how a piece
of software works, and allowing customization should not take the place of
designing something well in the first place.

I'm not sure what you're talking about about customization in software
becoming more common. If anything, the rise of mobile and web apps (which
are rarely customizable) suggests otherwise. 

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