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 11:33:21 -0700

Sean Hower wrote:

> --------------------------
> Dick Margulis wrote:
> My point is that sometimes sequences just happen--as a result of an
ill-considered architectural decision made early in the design process; and
changing that logic to permit the developer or the tech writer to apply a
more sensible sequencing rule may be fairly difficult as you get into the
later stages of coding a product.
> --------------------------
> At which point the technical writer does what?
> A. lists the items in a "neutral" order like alphabetical
> B. lists the items in the order presented
> C. ?

Well, Dick makes a valid point -- as always. But, Sean, you said that the
interface order had already changed twice and speculated that it would
change again. That suggests that the order isn't locked in by "an
ill-considered architectural decision," this project isn't in the "later
stages" yet, and the order could be rethought. I'd certainly talk to people
and look for the _best_ solution before settling for a less-desirable

That said, if you're forced to choose A or B, I'd go with B. Assume that the
user is looking at the interface and then at your doc or help. If the user
sees an item near the bottom of the popup list, I think the user will
naturally look toward the bottom of your list for that item. It will then
take a bit of extra time and effort to realize that your list doesn't
correspond to the interface list, to recognize that it's alphabetized, and
to rethink where the item can be found.

IMHO, as always... ;-)


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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