I’ve thought about this and here is the big problem I have noticed. You mention the ‘mental transition’ and I think this is precisely where the problem is. The people who “give up” immediately say it is because Dorico is unintuitive and too much work to do simple things they could do in their old software. I feel this is often due to not understanding how much their own mental programming is impacting their views. It seems like the brain creates a ‘mental map’ of certain software - it is almost like it rewires itself and programs itself to work with the software.
Case in point: a common issue with IT people who work with a DOS and UNIX command line often: typing dir (the DOS command to get a file list) at a UNIX prompt or typing ls (the UNIX command to get a file list) on a DOS prompt. The brain has a tendency to conflate anything that looks like a command line with the same ‘mental map’. It is possible, if you work with both on a regular basis, to separate them into different maps, but this only happens if you go back and forth a lot. Usually with notation software, we pick one program and stick with it.
So, when we switch notation software programs, what happens? Our brain tries to take the ‘mental map’ it made of the old notation software program and apply it to the new notation program. The result is that the new program feels unintuitive and frustrating simply because it isn’t what you are used to.
For users who are switching, they have to be warned in advance to expect the following:
- The program will seem unintuitive at first only due to their brain trying to understand it with the same ‘map’ it applies to their current software
- It will take at least 80 hours of work in the new program to adjust their old mental programming to the new program - learning all the shortcuts etc.
- Prior to the 80 hours, it will take more time (and early on, substantially more time) to get things done in the new program vs. the old one, and so it will be very tempting to give up
- After their ‘mental map’ is reprogrammed, the old software they used will quickly start to feel unintuitive (I find it hard to do things in Sibelius anymore because I keep pressing Dorico hotkeys etc.)
If you are migrating programs, you have to be prepared in advance for the productivity hit you will take in learning how to do things the new way. It will take longer to do simple things, you will spend time having to Google how to do things you could just do with a button press before. I don’t think it is a good idea for someone to pick a new piece with a deadline as an opportunity to switch. It is better to wait until you don’t have anything pressing due and spend some time just engraving things and figuring out how to use functions you normally use. Patience is also important - if something seems initially like it will take longer in Dorico, it might be that there is some feature you haven’t discovered yet and and therefore you may incorrectly assume the program is not able to do something well.
All in all, I think reasonable expectations would help. People who give up on Dorico often expect that they will just need a few hours of experience and they will be off and running, but that just isn’t realistic.