=====I used the phrase “time signature with pick-up bar” because pick-up bars aren’t a separate item;=====
Well, they are to me. I already HAD a time signature in my piece. And when I created it, nothing flagged me and said “You know, Jack, pick-up bars are included in time signature creation—would you like to create a pick-up bar now?”
Not to beat it to death, but all that significantly increases the cognitive load on the already-frustrated user who is thinking, “Look, all I need to do is put in a pickup note.” The very thing he does NOT want to do is to stop at that frustrated moment and get a global view of the architecture of Dorico. The end user most likely is not thinking like a programmer, but like a musician.
I’m very thankful for your program, and I don’t want to come across as hostile here. But at the risk of being dismissed without having made my point, I’ll venture to say that there’s a significant difference between how a programmer thinks and how a user thinks. And the directions need to be written from the USER’S point of view. This means keeping the nomenclature simple, and not over-complicating things by trying to make a teaching unit out of somebody trying to do a simple task. Sure, it’s “easy” in the programmer’s mind, because he or she programmed it that way. But don’t be surprised if someone who is not a programmer would never think of it that way in a million years.
I have very similar frustrations with Dorico on a number of tasks that should be simple. It is not intuitive, and searching for it takes forever. And frequently—as with this present occasion—the nomenclature leaves me wondering whether the directions I have found really go with the task I want to achieve or not. In my opinion (being not a programmer, but a former project manager for a website and mobile app and a webmaster for many sites), your team have gravitated too far towards the programmer mindset and too far away from the user mindset. And being a student of cognitive science for 8 years, I’m certain that I’m really onto something regarding the cognitive overload.
I really did spend a LOT of time searching and reading. A LOT. I searched the program, the discussion forum, YouTube, and a search engine. It’s very frustrating—especially for an expensive program like this. And I very often walk away defeated, not being able to accomplish what should be simple tasks in my scores. And I’m not someone that most people would call stupid or slow. I’m an author, teacher, webmaster, and philosopher.
It does me very little good to have a program that can do a thousand things if I can’t figure out how to make it do 900 of them. And running into such defeats frequently, I find that I get negative-emotion associations with Dorico—which makes me want to use it even less.
If I were to use it daily—and to go through all these struggles, I’d eventually come to see it more as your programmers do. But for the money I paid, it would be fantastic if someone over there would review your manuals, re-approaching the material from the novice user’s point of view. I would pay $200 this minute for a well-constructed and thorough manual of that nature. Indeed, a few months ago, I hired a Dorico tutor for $80 just to show me how to do some of the things I haven’t been able to figure out in months of using the program a few times a month.
As it is, I estimate (roughly) that there’s roughly a 50% chance that when I look something up, I’m not going to find out how to do the task before I give up trying.
So that’s my frequent frustration. I know this may come across like I’m just lashing out. But if I were the boss over there, I’d want to know that I’ve got customers with these frustrations. So it’s in good faith that I write you these things.