RE: Using "tip" and "note" in procedure writing?

Subject: RE: Using "tip" and "note" in procedure writing?
From: "Walters, Christian (CCI-Atlanta)" <Christian -dot- Walters -at- cox -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 May 2001 13:52:58 -0400

Geoff Hart sez: <<I would note <g> that you do have to preserve a clear
distinction between warnings and the other types of information; if warnings
share the same look or feel as the notes, you risk having users ignore them
amidst all the other clutter.>>

I agree there. In fact, that's another issue we're working with -- making
the Warnings stand out a little more. We're experimenting to find a format
that sets it apart but doesn't make the page ugly or hard to read.

<<At the risk of sounding repetitive, I'd suggest the most useful study you
could possibly find would be one that involves your audience--even at the
risk of disproving your own hypotheses about what works. Ask them! Although
you can generally discern important overall principles from published
studies, you have to be very careful to ensure that those studies are
applicable to your specific audience; the devil's always in the details.>>

Certainly good advice. Fortunately, all our documentation is internal, so
getting access to our users is fairly easy. Unfortunately, my experience
with asking them about things like this tells me that they simply don't read
the manuals enough to really have an opinion. The general non-usability of
our documentation is part of what precipitated a rewrite of our styles :)
Once we get our styles down, our next step is to reorganize our manuals away
from these 900-page compendiums, and towards smaller, more targeted books.
(We've been shifting to XML-based single-sourcing over the last few months,
with an eye towards ultimately having customized documentation. I can't

Thanks for all the help and suggestions, folks. You guys are the coolest :)



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