Bug 153335 - Establishing a keyboard shortcut is doubly counter-intuitive
Summary: Establishing a keyboard shortcut is doubly counter-intuitive
Status: RESOLVED DUPLICATE of bug 115527
Alias: None
Product: LibreOffice
Classification: Unclassified
Component: UI (show other bugs)
(earliest affected) release
Hardware: All All
: medium enhancement
Assignee: Not Assigned
Keywords: needsUXEval
Depends on:
Blocks: Customize-Dialog-Keyboard
  Show dependency treegraph
Reported: 2023-02-02 23:55 UTC by nj
Modified: 2023-02-03 17:27 UTC (History)
3 users (show)

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Crash report or crash signature:


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Description nj 2023-02-02 23:55:03 UTC
When setting up a keyboard shortcut I expect to select the action (that which the shortcut will achieve) and then assign the shortcut. It turns out (I had to ask on the forum) that what one must do is first select the keyboard shortcut - from a very long list of shortcuts - and then click . . 'modify' (that latter, I think, even if the shortcut is assigned to nothing at present). Hence 'doubly counter-intuitive'. Compare e.g. Linux Mint's way of assigning system-wide keyboard shortcuts - which I never liked, but it does not have things backwards (it solicits the action first) and it does not ask one to 'modify' something non-existent.

I file this bug under 'Writer' but I think it affects all LibreOffice applications (and/but I found no way on Bugzilla of conveying that).

Steps to Reproduce:
1. Realise that the 'customize' menu option is what one wants for keyboards shortcuts, and click it.
2. Select the function one wants to assign to a key.
3. Try vainly to get a key press to appear in the 'keys' field.

Actual Results:
Confusion. Frustration.

Expected Results:
Establishing a keyboard shortcut. Even Microsoft _Word_ (if I may say so) is better in this regard.

Reproducible: Always

User Profile Reset: Yes

Additional Info:
The software should solicit the function first - and do so clearly (for, I _thought_, falsely, that it _was_ doing that) - and then solicit the keyboard shortcut and then solicit confirmation via a button less confusing that one labelled 'modify'.
Comment 1 Regina Henschel 2023-02-03 13:58:47 UTC
I agree, the workflow is not intuitive. How is the workflow to define a short cut key in other applications? Would be interesting to know.
Comment 2 nj 2023-02-03 15:49:13 UTC
Regina: thank you for your comment; I believe that my previous post contains the answer to your question. For, see the 'additional information' section of that post. But in short: to my knowledge, other applications get one to choose the function first and the shortcut second.

Also: I have been involved in a somewhat illuminating forum discussion about the counter-intuitiveness, or otherwise, of LibreOffice's way of assigning keyboard shortcuts. Here is something that I ended up writing there ('there' being the following URL: https://ask.libreoffice.org/t/i-cannot-see-how-to-enter-custom-keyboard-shortcuts/87362/7).

=== [Start of quotation] ===

I suspect that it is not the whole truth about intuitiveness that it is ‘only the continuation of a previous habit’. I grant though that intuitiveness is at least partly that. So my criticism was too blunt. That said: if most software does some thing in some single way, and there is little net advantage in doing it a different way, then surely it is best to, so to speak, go with the flow . .

=== [End of quotation] ===
Comment 3 V Stuart Foote 2023-02-03 16:08:57 UTC
The workflow is already intuitive AND *documented* [1] [2]

Select UI module to affect or Entire UI by Radio button
Select action/control/function to be assigned
Select Key to target
Select Modify to Complete assignment

IMHO => NAB and a => WF for any enhancement

[1] https://help.libreoffice.org/7.6/en-US/text/shared/01/06140200.html?DbPAR=SHARED#bm_id2322763

[2] https://books.libreoffice.org/en/GS74/GS7413-CustomizingLO.html#toc15
Comment 4 nj 2023-02-03 16:24:19 UTC
@V Stuart Foote

Thank you for the links to documentation.

I take it that by, 'Select Key to target' you mean: select the key from the list that appears under the heading, 'Shortcut Keys'.

Forgive me, but I remain unconvinced that the current procedure is intuitive. Here is why.

i) The procedure has one start at the _the bottom_ of the window (with 'Category' and 'Function') and subsequently move to the _the top_ of the window (to 'Shortcut Keys'. (Or such anyway was the order of actions that you proposed.)

ii) In the 'Shortcut keys' box, one cannot _type_ a key combination. Rather one has to scroll (and scroll some more) and then select a key.

iii) Clicking a button labelled 'Modify' in order to _create_ a keyboard shortcut _ex nihilo_ does not seem intuitive.
Comment 5 nj 2023-02-03 16:33:35 UTC
Here is what I suggest.

A) Move the 'Shortcut keys' section to the top of the window and rename it to: 'Keyboard shortcut to assign. (Select shortcut or type it.)'. Or something like that.

B) Within that same section - the one currently entitled 'Shortcut keys' - have a box labelled, 'Type key(s)'; that box should accept key combinations and display them. (I imagine there might be some difficulty implementing this but other software has managed it.)

C) Change the 'Modify' button to read 'Assign'. Better: have it read 'assign' when at present no function is assigned to they key combination, and have it read 'modify' otherwise. Or something like that.
Comment 6 V Stuart Foote 2023-02-03 16:40:04 UTC
(In reply to nicholasjoll from comment #4)

And that is why it is documented, for when visual inspection may not be sufficient. 

Establishing or overriding/modifying keyboard shortcut navigation is NOT an inherently trivial or intuitive action. 

In other words we really do prefer that users RTM.
Comment 7 V Stuart Foote 2023-02-03 16:56:21 UTC

*** This bug has been marked as a duplicate of bug 115527 ***
Comment 8 V Stuart Foote 2023-02-03 17:27:08 UTC
While here a duplicate of bug 115527 (and its dupes), please note the UI function of the Customize dialog's Keyboard panel is equally to make shortcut assignments, but also to inspect assignments already in place.

The listing of Keys (those available to Shortcut assign) is sequential and logically grouped. While filtering might be useful, a search against the Keys would be of limited use.

Actions/Functions can be filtered by the Category a function is assigned/performs, and at the 5.4 release actions/functions can be searched by name.  

Where a function has an shortcut key assignment made that assignment is indicated in the lower right Keys panel following search--to help (along with the pop-up description) to identify the correct function.

So in practice the Shortcut Keys panel on top makes the most sense: both to visually review existing assignments, and to select the shortcut that would be modified/assigned.