Why does having a non-editable preview make writing on a computer so awesome?
June 10, 2012 3:29 PM Subscribe
When leaving a comment on mefi, does looking at that "live preview" window below the edit box make you a better writer too? What's up with that?
posted by tempythethird to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Some websites, like mefi and stackexchange, have "live-preview" windows right below the edit-boxes that show what you're typing in a non-editable format in real time. I always thought that these things were just there to show the final results of any formatting, but I've slowly been realizing that they have a (possibly unintended) secondary function.
I find that I'm more effective at catching bad wording and muddy reasoning if I focus my attention on the non-editable preview box instead of the text box.
Today, I realized just how far this went when I was editing a smallish essay on the couch on my android tablet. When I needed to change something, I would put the google docs app in edit mode and peck out the changes. Then, I would go back to "critical reading" by leaving edit mode, which would put the app in a zoomed-out blog-like kind of view. After doing this for a while I realized that there was technically no need to ever exit out of edit mode, but I was doing it automatically anyway. Somehow not being in "edit mode" made me a better critical reader.
My question is - does anyone else get this feeling, or am I crazy?
If I'm not crazy - then why is this happening? Is there some sort of psychological name for this effect? I would love to understand what's going on, as I design software, and consciously applying this effect could be very useful.