RE: table of figures

Subject: RE: table of figures
From: Marilynne Smith <marilyns -at- qualcomm -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2001 14:34:26 -0800

In engineering documents a particular figure or table may contain pertinent information the engineer needs to know. I've seen engineers look at the tables and figures and nothing else. It has to depend on the user and what they want from the document.

If I wrote a book about the periodic table of elements and didn't include a copy and where to find it, the book would be lacking. It just depends.


At 11:18 AM 1/5/01 -0700, Brent -dot- Jones -at- level3 -dot- com wrote:

Mike Stockman wrote on Friday, January 05, 2001 9:47 AM:

> I can imagine situations where a list of figures would be
> useful, but, in
> my mind anyway, those situations are rare... are people
> really using them
> very often, and to what end? Has anyone ever usability tested
> such manuals
> to see whether the users even notice, much less use, the list
> of figures?

I also never consult a list of figures when using docs that have one, and my
sense (without any formal usability testing) is that most people don't.
However, I generally include one in larger documents for the following

1. A few of my readers might find it useful.

2. It takes up a trivial amount of space--one or two pages.

3. With Frame, and even Word, it requires very little effort to set up and

So I generally figure 'what the heck' and throw one in. I also think it
might add to that subtle, ineffable sense of completeness and benign
'authority' that an effective document should have in order to be effective.

~!~ ~!~ ~!~ ~!~ ~!~ ~!~ ~!~
Marilynne Smith
Sr. Technical Writer
marilyns -at- qualcomm -dot- com
(858) 651-6664

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