Re: huh?

Subject: Re: huh?
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 May 2003 14:09:39 -0700 (PDT)

"Janice Gelb" <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com> wrote in message news:197595 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-

> Unfortunately, these interfaces tend to be exceedingly
> idiosyncratic, as standard rules cannot be enforced. (One
> would hope that good user interface practices would be,
> but trust me, that's usually a vain and idle hope :-> )
> There are interfaces where the fields and menus change names
> depending on a previous choice, where buttons change function
> sometimes without changing names, installation screens are
> written by engineers who assume the users know their cryptic
> names for functions, and a host of other potentially confusing
> behaviors. Online help for the web is also a mix of pop-up
> windows, mouse-over lines, and so on.

How do you know its cryptic? I mean if you're not an advanced user with
extensive understanding of the technology/industry, how can you effectively
judge something as cryptic?

What seems cryptic, arcane, or confusing to a content/industry-ignorant writer
may be blaringly obvious to normal users. This is why a good writer must go way
beyond the interface and understand the context under which the product is

> I think the future is still safe for writers who have
> to document software interfaces.

Absolutely. The future is very safe for writers, with subject matter expertise,
to document software interfaces. The future for documenting basic Windows
commands and other painfully simplistic stuff is disappearing.

Andrew Plato

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