RE: Instructions

Subject: RE: Instructions
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 3 Jan 2001 18:03:59 -0500

Two points can be made from your very observant post:

1) Relying on a style guide as the answer to everything is just plain

2) Apple got the whole concept of user-centered design a way long time ago.
Build the product to do what the user wants to do, and you won't have to
dumb down the supporting documentation.


Connie Giordano

-----Original Message-----
From: Susan Guttman [mailto:sguttman -at- semantix -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 03, 2001 4:13 PM
Subject: Re: Instructions

One thing I found very interesting when I was writing for both Win and Mac
applications simultaneously: I tried to use the same Help (with appropriate
modifications) for both platforms, and was told "no!" in no uncertain terms
by the Mac developer.

As it turns out, Mac and Windows aim their Help at *completely* different
users; reading the Microsoft and Apple style guides is like reading French
and English...

Microsoft assumes that the user is a clueless dolt, whose hand should be
held at every step. Leave no room for misunderstanding, make everything as
clear as possible to an average three-year old.

Apple assumes that the user knows which end is up, and that they're only
likely to look at the Help if they're having trouble with something. If it's
obvious, if it's visible onscreen, don't insult your reader by putting it in
the Help.

I much prefer the Apple way of doing things, though I'm a little nervous
about bringing the wrath of the assumed Microsoft user down upon my head...
but the next version of our Help will definitely be reflecting some of
Apple's style rules.

Develop HTML-based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver! (STC Discount.)
**NEW DATE/LOCATION!** January 16-17, 2001, New York, NY. or 800-646-9989.

Sponsored by DigiPub Solutions Corp, producers of PDF 2001
Conference East, June 4-5, Baltimore/Washington D.C. area. or toll-free 877/278-2131.

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