Re: Task-based vs. System-Based Procedures

Subject: Re: Task-based vs. System-Based Procedures
From: Penny Staples <pstaples -at- airwire -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 05 Jan 2000 09:58:12 -0600

But you can take a task-oriented or a system-oriented approach to
document organization.

A task-based approach involves identifying which tasks your audience is
most likely to need to do (e.g "How to Create and Send a Message", "How
to Create Folders" etc.), and organize the document accordingly. It
makes the main procedures very easy for a casual user to find. Tends to
assume that the end-users only want to read the particular procedure
they need at the moment.

A system-based approach usually means describing the product according
to the way the developers have arranged things (e.g., "Messages",
"Storage"). In this second approach, an end-user may have a more
difficult time figuring out where to find a particular procedure. Tends
to assume that someone will read the entire document or at least the
entire section, from beginning to end.

The task-based approach is generally considered more useful for
end-users, but each approach has its own time and place. For example, if
you're writing systems documentation for developers, they may prefer to
see the material laid out very systematically.


Penny Staples
pstaples -at- airwire -dot- com

Anthony Markatos wrote:
> Bill Hartzer asks:
> In regards to computer software, what is the difference between
> task-based procedures and system-based procedures?
> Tony Markatos responds:
> There is none. There are manual procedures and automated procedures, but
> procedures are procedures.
> Lets look at a simple (hypothetical) task: Calculate Sales Tax. Various
> mechanisms may be employed to accomplish this task: a computer, a person,
> electrical circuits - or even a machine. Doesn't matter, it is still a task
> and is accomplished by procedure - regardless of the mechanism employed.
> Tony Markatos
> tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com

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