RE: Deja voodoo

Subject: RE: Deja voodoo
From: "Mason, Catheryn" <CMason -at- INFINITEC-COM -dot- com>
To: "'Kevin McLauchlan'" <KMcLauchlan -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 25 Feb 2000 11:16:12 -0600

Kevin has included two versions of/approaches to the same initialization
steps in his manual, and wonders whether to leave them both in or kill one.

My advice -- as a user of products and programs -- would be to supply only
one set of directions. Chances are that I'd be confused when presented with
two approaches to the same material, even if you told me up front what I was
getting. I'd wonder why I was being presented with two paths. I'm sure that
each approach has different strengths but, when I sit down to use a product,
I want to get productive as soon as possible (and I'd emphasize ASAP). I
don't care about the product per se, only about what it can do for me, how
it will save me time/fill a need/amuse me. I think the best rule of thumb
for user manuals is "easy in, easy out," and one set of directions seems to
meet that criterion more efficiently than two, no matter how wonderful they
both are. The other set of instructions might be of use to your trainers ...

Catheryn Mason, Technical Writer
Infinitec Communications
cmason -at- infinitec-com -dot- com
Winner, 1999 IABC Bronze Quill Award of Excellence for Technical Writing

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