RE: Documenting Wizards

Subject: RE: Documenting Wizards
From: John Posada <JPosada -at- book -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 May 2003 12:35:39 -0400

This is going on the assumption that the person running the wizard knows
enough about the application and/or dataset, and knows enough about the
finished result so that they are able to pick the correct option to get the
correct result.

Often, a wizard will branch into different results based on selected radio
buttons or entered checkmarks. Yet, the person running the wizard might not
be sure what the results will be if one option is selected vs the other.

Also, stupid little things...example. Just this morning, I was using
Microsoft SQL Server client to export data from SQL databases to an Access
db. When it came time to pick the destination, I found out that it doesn't
create an mdb file, but I can only pick an existing one.

Maybe this is a poorly designed application, maybe a poorly designed wizard,
or maybe there is a good reason and the documentation should explain the
impact of possible actions.

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer
jposada -at- book -dot- com
NY: 212-414-6656
Dayton: 732-438-3372
"There are those who look at things the way they are, and ask why... I dream
of things that never were, and ask why not?"
-----Robert Francis Kennedy, 1968 presidential campaign

> If a "wizard" requires documentation, I suggest putting the time and
> energy into improving the wizard. Wizards are essentially
> self-disclosing and interactive instructions, so having Help for a
> wizard is sort of like having a manual for the manual. (Which, of
> course, is sometimes done. Ugh.)


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