Re: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking

Subject: Re: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking
From: "Michael West" <mbwest -at- removebigpond -dot- net -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 29 May 2003 09:34:29 +1000



Andrew Plato wrote:

> Actually, what I see a lot more of these days is poorly focused
> documents. There is a tremendous amount of energy poured into sections of the
> document that describe simple commands and menus, and then detailed technical
> information is thrown into a poorly formatted appendix. A clear indication that
> the author did not understand the material, and was unwilling or unable to
> learn it.


I agree (!), but poor focus and weak structure can be the result
of numerous things -- maybe shallow subject-matter knowlege,
maybe failure to analyze the audience need, maybe
design-by-committee.

I certainly share Andrew's dislike for those menu-oriented
approaches to user-guide oraganization: "This menu
contains these commands"; "This toolbar contains these
buttons"; "This button does this, that button does that";
"This window has these things in it"; and so on.

This is a very common way of "documenting" an interface,
and almost never the best way, especially when it is a
poor substitute for task-based instruction. It is an exercise in
list-making and cataloguing. It's like writing restaurant reviews
while sitting at home reading menus and advertisements,
and never actually ordering a meal.

Usually, the better way is task-oriented: "To achieve this result,
follow this procedure." And to do that properly requires an
undertanding of what your users want to achieve.

--
Michael West
Melbourne, Australia






^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Robohelp X3, from eHelp, lets you quickly and easily create
professional Help systems for all your Windows and Web-based
applications, including Net.

Order RoboHelp X3 in May and receive a $100 mail-in rebate, PLUS
free RoboScreenCapture and WebHelp Merge Module.

Order RoboHelp today: http://www.ehelp.com/techwr-l

---
You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.raycomm.com/techwhirl/ for more resources and info.



Previous by Author: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking
Next by Author: Re: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking
Previous by Thread: RE: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking
Next by Thread: Re: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads