Re: Using the STOP methodology

Subject: Re: Using the STOP methodology
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <SGallagher -at- akonix -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 17 Sep 2001 08:30:32 -0700

I tried to send this to the list on Friday night, but it
bounced because of too many quoted lines, so now we'll
try again.

What you've shown in your examples, I think of as "jumps".
References to other sections of the book, or to other topics
in the online file, that cause the reader to access a totally
different section are not transitions. Jumps are abrupt;
transitions are smooth.

What I refer to when I say "transitions" are the smooth
segues from one thought to another that you find in a well
crafted essay or report -- one that is linear in nature.

When we were all learning to write, many long years ago,
we were presented with some theories about crafting paragraphs.
We start off with a thought, we expand upon it, and before we're
through, we add a hint of what's to follow in the next paragraph.
That hint that prepares the reader for the next thought to be
introduced -- *that's* the transition. That's what's missing in
the discrete chunks of information that we write for online.

For example, in a linear book, a chapter or section may end
by posing a problem. The section that follows presents a
possible solution. The reader is prepared for what comes
next; the book flows; the text is linear. In online help,
the topic ends. Period. There is no transition. There's
only a jump.

That's what I meant. We can't transition if we don't know
where the reader is heading.

Hope that clears things up a little.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dan Roberts [mailto:droberts63 -at- earthlink -dot- net]
> I could (and probably am) misunderstanding a lot of things
> here, but couldn't
> either of these two types of documentation make use of the
> same, effective
> transitions, and aviod the worse?
> Isnt part of the current thought about online documentation
> that the writer has
> to present the topics in a way that will lead the reader to
> the next best topic?
> or is there a bigger distinction that you see between
> transition types, than
> between these two examples:
> "For more information about downloading the file to your computer, see
> "Downloading the file to my computer" (on page xx <for print>).".
> "For more information about downloading the file to your
> computer, see below."


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