Re: Variations on a task

Subject: Re: Variations on a task
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <susan-gallagher -at- vertel -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 2000 11:14:02 -0700

At 01:22 PM 4/12/00 -0400, Melanie Fielek wrote:
>So, how do y'all deal with documenting several different ways of
>accomplishing the same task?

1. Select one way of doing things and stick to it. Usually, this
means documenting menu selections as this is the most comprehensive
and easily accessible "action list".

2. Elsewhere in the document (i.e., out of the procedural flow -- in
a separate "overview" chapter, maybe?), include:

a) A chart of toolbar buttons and their actions
b) Statements such as, "Multiple and extended selection, accelerator
keys, and drag-and-drop functionality have been implemented where
expected throughout the interface."

New users, occasional users, and the phobic will stick to menu selections
forever. The simplified, one-way-of-doing-things approach will instruct
them without confusing them.

Power users and the more intrepid novices will use the statement in (b)
as license to experiment and will find their own pathways throught the
miriad shortcuts available in the interface.

This is one of the prime tenets of minimalism as set forth by John M. Carroll
and it has been proven effective by years of implementation and study.

To learn more about minimalism:

Minimalism Beyond the Nurnberg Funnel
John M. Carroll (Editor), Society for Technical Communicaation
MIT Press; ISBN: 026203249X


-Sue Gallagher
susan-gallagher -at- vertel -dot- com

The _Guide_ is definitive.
Reality is frequently inaccurate. --Douglas Adams

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