Re: Best Practices in Indicating Versions

Subject: Re: Best Practices in Indicating Versions
From: jsokohl -at- mac -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 2003 10:09:45 -0600

Thanks to everyone for sharing your practices, experiences, and knowledge.

I'm wondering though if we're not perhaps missing some key user
information. That is, why do we mark versions of documents and list
changes? Why do we use change bars?

I think the main question being answered is, What's different from the
previous version of the document? All well & good for frequent users of
the document--often internal folks like developers, managers, and writers.

My concerns center around unnecessary clutter and filters to
communications--users being required to wade through administrivial
metablather before they get to the information they _need_ to do their
task (even if the task is, Learn about this topic, as opposed to, Set this
widget to enable efficient frambling). So I'm thinking that change bars
unnecessarily draw cognitive attention (redundant? not sure) to the bar
itself instead of to the message at hand. That is, perhaps the user's then
drawn to a metamessage: "This line of information is different from what
it was at an earlier point." Instead, perhaps the user needs to know the
information itself.

Yet I'm also torn by the idea that frequent users might have a compelling
need for reassurance that what they are reading is the latest and greatest
info. In addition, folks involved in reviewing for approval might have a
need to focus on only what's changed, ensuring the delta's correctly been

Sorry for the ramble. Y'all have, however, helped clear the scales from my

Gotta go.



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