Documenting "touchy" applications? (take II)

Subject: Documenting "touchy" applications? (take II)
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 18 Mar 2002 13:37:59 -0500

John Posada provided an example of what he meant: <<To the developer, this
would not be the right way to do it and the program should generate an error
message. Do I document that the user must only do it from the left pane and
that if they do it from the right, the results are not guaranteed?>>

Document the procedure the way they're supposed to do it; if they don't
follow your instructions, they won't succeed, and even the most stubborn
user will eventually figure out that they should pay attention to what you
told them to do. If you mention alternatives, some portion of your audience
will try out those alternatives, and you don't want to encourage that kind
of fruitless exploration if it's just going to frustrate them.

But I'm still not sure why your developers can't simply code the script so
that it works from anywhere. Nobody knows the code like they do, and if they
can't press the proper buttons so the user doesn't have to, it seems to me
there's a bigger problem than how to document the procedure.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
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