RE: When they shouldn't be experimenting (was RE: Encouraging learning---g by experimentation?

Subject: RE: When they shouldn't be experimenting (was RE: Encouraging learning---g by experimentation?
From: JB Foster <jb -dot- foster -at- shaw -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 06 Dec 2002 18:40:51 -0700



Last night, on the 10 o'clock news, there was a interview-clip with the
Canadian CEO (or maybe a Senior V.P.) of British Petroleum, regarding the
Kyoto protocol. He was interviewed sitting at his desk, while the whole
time, fiddling with some sort of printed PowerPoint document (you know the
type - consisting entirely of one-sentence bullets within 'cute' frames).
This type of document, because of the limited information they often
contain, changed my opinion of the seriousness, and depth, to what he had to
say. I mean ...could you imagine President Bush's speeches consisting of
reading no-more than a simple Power-Point presentation.

Why I mention the above, is because of the observations Mike Bradley made
regarding limiting tasks to 'seven words.' Maybe that's why I've noticed
increased use of the 'PowerPoint' style within user-manuals. I can't wait
for the day when novels are written in Power-Point style; or could this
already be the future of technical documentation? ...If so, maybe all I ever
needed to learn was: the Five-Point essay, simple sentence structure, MS
word, and Power-Point ...kind of scary! ;-)

Bruce


Mike Bradley wrote:

> > If I leave out the "clutter"...I get reasonable-sounding
> > complaints that we must tell the users the information that
> > they need in order to make decisions... and to keep
> > themselves out of trouble... and away from the Customer
> > Support line....
> >
> > If I put in the "you need to know this" info, between the
> > steps, I get complaints that: "It's hard to follow. The
> > flow is interrupted. I want it all on one page..."
>
> Seven words. I think it was in a recent IEEE Transactions that a study
> found that users rarely read more than the first seven words of a step
> in a how-to procedure. They don't read additional paragraphs in the step
> and they stop altogether after just a few steps--I forget how many, but
> it might have been five.
>
> Heck, I don't want to read any more than that myself, not when I'm
> trying to get something done.


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RE: When they shouldn't be experimenting (was RE: Encouraging learning---g by experimentation?: From: Mike Bradley

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