Re: Best Documentation

Subject: Re: Best Documentation
From: Martha J Davidson <editrix -at- slip -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 11:29:07 -0800

At 12:48 PM 1/27/00 -0700, Brent L Jones wrote:

I think the best examples of technical documentation I have ever seen are
the instructions that come w/ modern-day Lego kits. They are entirely
pictorial, the "chunking" of pieces-per-pictograph is brilliant, the
sequencing (build this 'subsystem,' then that one, then join them together)
is topnotch. They are localised for any market, as they use no text (except
arabic numerals to show the sequence of ops--that might be a problem in some

Funny you should mention those Lego instructions. I was just telling
a colleague this morning that I find them completely incomprehensible.

I have come to refer to myself as "iconically challenged." Most of the
time, I just can't tell what the little pictures on those toolbar buttons
or the graphics like the ones in the Lego booklets are pictures of. Or
what I'm supposed to do with them when I can decipher the picture.

I watch with amazement as my husband and an 8-year-old friend of
ours pore over the Lego pictures, go directly to the next piece, create
a subassembly, and end up with a finished product. Then again, I
usually can't tell what the finished Lego thing is supposed to be, either.

The moral of the story: some people just need words to be able
to make sense of things.


Martha Jane {Kolman | Davidson}
Dances With Words
mailto:editrix -at- slip -dot- net

"If I am not for myself, who will be for me,
If I am only for myself, what am I,
If not now, when?"
--Hillel, Mishna, "Sayings of the Fathers," 1:13

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