Re: Variations on a task

Subject: Re: Variations on a task
From: "Lee Tesdell" <ltesdell -at- eai -dot- com>
To: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 2000 10:46:17 -0500

Kent, you are documenting (in your first example) just the way I do it. It's
clear and effective I think.

----- Original Message -----
From: "Christensen, Kent" <lkchris -at- sandia -dot- gov>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Thursday, April 13, 2000 10:40 AM
Subject: RE: Variations on a task

> re: ... how do y'all deal with documenting several different ways of
> accomplishing the same task? This simple example shows what I've been
> so far:
> 1. Open a file using one of these methods:
> o From the File menu, select Open.
> o On the toolbar, click the Open button (pic of button).
> 2-n. Next step(s) follow.
> ----
> 1. I've been known to place a bolded "-or-" between the two ...
> 1a From the File menu, select Open.
> -or-
> 1b On the toolbar, click the Open button (pic of button).
> 2. Another way I like is ...
> >From the File menu, select Open (clicking [pic of button] accomplishes
> same thing).
> 3. Or even more compact ...
> Click File/Open or click [pic of button].
> 4. Or high-tech ...
> Open the file and ... ("Open the file" being a hypertext link to a popup
> listing the ways to do it)
> Given the "file/open" example, I'd like to suggest we consider when
> this just how much we are "teaching" our particular software versus how
> we are teaching the operating system, i.e. Windows or Mac O/S or ... .
> If these instructions occur within a particular company--as opposed to in
> mass-market manual--"prerequisites" or available references might be
> assumed. That being, folks know that the operating system often provides
> more than one way of doing things. Really, everyone knows every program
> there is has "file/open." (generalization recognized as subject to
> Yes, it depends on your users. If you expect them to be computer novices
> (who is a computer novice these days?) maybe the long way is best. Is
> program a "beginner" program, i.e. something likely to be the first
> a user purchases or encounters? If your program is for "geeks," give them
> the quick and dirty, i.e. "compact" or "high-tech" alternate.
> I many times wrestle with the notion the user already knows the operating
> system and I should solely concentrate on the software at hand, and offer
> that consideration of this is at least as important as choosing a
> presenation convention.
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