RE: TOC article in INTERCOM -- things that made me go "HUH??"

Subject: RE: TOC article in INTERCOM -- things that made me go "HUH??"
From: Mike West <Mike -dot- West -at- oz -dot- quest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 2002 11:12:02 +1100






> From: Gordon Meyer

> But is there a way to make a TOC reflect
> each individual user's "view
> of the wor[L]d"? That's a serious question,
> for as you've pointed out, its the way to
> make a TOC usable. It's easy for an author
> to construct a TOC, but as long as they author
> only one, it's guaranteed not to match
> each user's conception, and thus rapidly
> degrade in usefulness.


Sure. It all goes back to that old stuff about
audience analysis, learning hierarchies, top-down
structures, using the audience's language and knowledge
as a starting point -- all that boring stuff that some of the
big shots around here seem to think is a waste of their time.

For example, instead of having headings that refer
to interface objects, build a headings hierarchy that
organizes the material based on a generic, common
understanding of business needs and functions--"real
tasks" as some usability experts describe it.

If you do that, the users qucikly find the group of topics
associated with the business tasks they want to accomplish.
They look at the table of contents, and everything looks
familiar to them, because it is arranged according to
their needs and goals rather than the convenience of the
application programmers and tech writers.

--
Mike W
Melbourne


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