How many options to give to readers?

Subject: How many options to give to readers?
From: "Walters, Christian (CCI-Atlanta)" <Christian -dot- Walters -at- cox -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 Mar 2001 11:19:49 -0500

Hi all,

Marie mentioned this earlier. It's interesting, because my doc group here
had a big argument about it just the other day.

How many options for completing the same action do you give to readers?
There are often several. The same thing can be done by clicking and
selecting a button, or double clicking, or right-clicking and picking from a
menu, or from a regular menu, or from a toolbar button, or a shortcut key,
and so on. Do you guys have any rules o' thumb for that kind of thing?

My gut feeling is to pick which one is the easiest and only tell them that
one. If they are inexperienced users, too many options may confuse them.
If they are experienced, too many may annoy them. As they gain experience,
they will figure out other options anyway. I say dump the toolbar
descriptions and lists of shortcut keys in a conventions section or an
appendix and get on with it.

But I can see there are other POVs on this. And it can be moot anyway if
you have a project manager who views a manual as a repository of every scrap
of information regarding the program.

As for the discussion yesterday, I'm beginning to come around on the menu
thing :)


-----Original Message-----
From: Marie C. Paretti [mailto:mparetti -at- naxs -dot- net]

<peeve> "Click" is actually one of my pet peeves, since for
most commands on most programs, you don't need the mouse
; there are often a variety of keyboard methods for executing
commands. So I almost never write "Click this"; I tell them
what to select, and let them choose their method. </peeve>


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