Re: how to list items

Subject: Re: how to list items
From: "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 10:07:51 -0700

Sean Hower describes two situations where he lists controls alphabetically:

<< I choose to alphabetize because it's a way to order things that everyone
should be familiar with and it avoids any changes that may occur as the
application continues to develop. The suggestions to list them in the order
that they appear in the interface was made because users will see the order
in the interface and then expect those items to appear in that order in the
reference material.

I think they should be in the order that they appear in the interface, but I
reject the notion that that order is fixed and it's you who must change. :-)
Heck, you note that in the second instance, the interface order has already
changed twice, so it' clearly not set in stone.

You mentioned not knowing the criteria, if any, used to determine the
interface order. You need to ask. If there is a logic to it (dependencies,
etc.), is that logic is meaningful or useful to the user, or is it based on
relationships that are internal to the code and only meaningful to the

If the interface uses a logical order that helps the user ("set the frammis
before choosing a widget"), then you should change the doc to match the
interface. If the interface order is random or not meaningful to the user,
then the programmer should change the interface to match your doc. :-)

IMHO, of course...


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Voyant, a division of Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
richardDOTcombs AT voyanttechDOTcom
rgcombs AT freeDASHmarketDOTnet


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