Re: Number of steps per procedure

Subject: Re: Number of steps per procedure
From: "Sharon Burton-Hardin" <sharonburton -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "Tara English-Sweeney" <tesweeney -at- novadigm -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 18 Oct 2000 13:21:17 -0700

One of the ways I have reduced the actual number of steps is to do something
like the following:

3 Complete the Bob screen as follows:
* bulleted list of the steps on this screen.
* May be several
Click Next.
4 The next screen instruction.

I have found that this chunking makes sense to the users because they get to
a new step (number sentence) as they change screens, which is a logical
"chuck" to them. Since Next is not really a step - it only moves them to the
place where they can do the next chunk of stuff - I don't make it a step. It
is the last part of that chunk of instruction.

This has shown in our pitiful little usability tests to work well. Cognitive
science and George Miller notwithstanding, people look at a 20 step
procedure and feel their heart drop. It seems like it is so much to do.
Keeping the steps to about 9 to 12 makes it look easier to do. Easier to do
means it must not be hard!


Sharon Burton-Hardin
Anthrobytes Consulting

Vice-president, Programs of the Inland Empire chapter of the STC

----- Original Message -----
From: "Tara English-Sweeney" <tesweeney -at- novadigm -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Wednesday, 18 October, 2000 12:55 PM
Subject: Number of steps per procedure

| I've condensed the number of steps as much as possible. For example,
| 6. Complete the fields as shown in the figure below.
| - In the XXX field, type a name for XXX.
| - In the XXX drop-down list, select XXX.
| - In the XXX field, type a XXX of the XXX.
| - In the XXX field, type a XXX.
| {screen capture/figure here}
| 7. Click Next.
| Normally, I would try to break things up into smaller procedures. For
| example, break steps 1 - 5 into one procedure and so on. In this
| situation, that just doesn't make sense to me.

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