RE: Numbered headings?

Subject: RE: Numbered headings?
From: "Jennifer O Neill" <jennifer -dot- oneill -at- village -dot- uunet -dot- be>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 19:46:14 +0200

We use numbered headings successfully in several of our manuals but our
situation may not be typical. We manufacture security systems, such as
burglar alarms. In such systems the display screen on the keypad may only be
a few centimeters high, so not much info can be displayed on screen even
with scrolling. Few installers have portable computers. Yet alarm systems
are increasingly complex and can do more and more options. So how do we help
the installer find their way around the system, get to the option they need
as quickly as possible and get info on an option when needed?

The manuals are structured according to the menu item and their sub option
levels (I don't have a manual with me here at home so can't give actual
examples). All th emenu options are numbered in the manual:

1. menu option one
1.1 sub level number one
1.1.1 sub sub level numbr one
1.1.2 sub sub level number two

2. menu option two
2.1 sub level
2.1.1 sub sub level

At the back of the manual (always the last pages so that it can be
immediately located) is a flow chart of these menu option levels
(programming map). The flow chart can be 3-6 pages long. It's like a visual
TOC. Each entry is also numbered but instead of listing the whole section
number shown in the manual, we just give the last digit of the section
number. So for sub "sub level number two" shown above would just have "2" in
its flow chart entry.

The installer goes to the programming map in the manual, looks for the menu
option he wants to programme. He types in the sequence of numbers that lead
to that menu option (eg, and immediately the system jumps to that
menu option so that he can now customise that feature of hte system for his
customer's security needs. He can also turn the that same number in the
manual to get info about that menu option.

Both customers and tech support love the system. Conversations with them has
me wondering if anyone uses the conventional TOC in the front of the manual.
For this product range, numbered headings are successful.




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