Re: The origins of task-oriented writing as a preference

Subject: Re: The origins of task-oriented writing as a preference
From: Mike Stockman <stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com>
To: "Mark Dempsey" <mxd2 -at- osi -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2000 16:30:38 -0500

On 1/28/2000 11:25 AM, Mark Dempsey (mxd2 -at- osi -dot- com) wrote:

>Our management has discovered we need "task-oriented" writing rather
>than "reference-oriented" writing in our manuals.
>
[snip]
>
>Has anyone had any experience surveying computer-savvy users of more
>complicated software (like ours) to see whether they want tasks or
>reference information?

(Note: this isn't a new approach. I was taught the difference between
task-oriented and reference-oriented doc back in the late 80s, and it
wasn't new then, either. We were doing mainly task-oriented then, but
keep reading...)

I think (and my experience with end-users has borne this out) that the
"either/or" approach is a mistake. The best manuals have always included
both: a task-oriented section for the novice user, and a
reference-oriented section for the experienced user. For most of the
products where I was able to do follow-up surveys, most users start out
in the task-oriented section (when they need more hand-holding) and end
up using the reference-oriented section once they are more familiar with
the product (and need only quick reminders for tools, windows, commands,
and so on).

Of course, I know one programmer who never looks anywhere but the
appendixes for any product he owns, but that's an exception, I'm sure. ;-)

Anyway, that's how I handle it whenever circumstances allow. Users go to
the section they need, and everybody's happy.

Hope this helps,
----->Mike

_______________________________________________________________________
Internet: stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com AOL: MStockman
AOL Instant Messenger: MStockman





Previous by Author: Re: Using the word "may"
Next by Author: Creating a glossary topic with RoboHELP HTML Edition 7.0
Previous by Thread: RE: The origins of task-oriented writing as a preference
Next by Thread: RE: The origins of task-oriented writing as a preference


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads