Re: How to document column names?

Subject: Re: How to document column names?
From: "Mike O." <obie1121 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jun 2004 15:34:18 -0400

Allen, Emily wrote:

I'm working on some on-line procedural documentation for a GUI and one of
the columns that I need to reference has a name that does not at all
represent what is displayed in that field. Any suggestions/standards as to
how to document this?

I have chose to use the name that the GUI displays and then included a note
informing the user what the column represents. Is this going to cause users
anxiety when looking at the documentation? Am I going to be confusing them?
Again, this is a battle between the Documentation Specialist and the

Actually it's a battle between the user interface designers and the users - they just don't think of it in those terms. Plus, the managers who don't realize the war going on under their noses.

The way you are documenting it is fine, given the situation. If you are feeling ornery you could try the inverse of your method: If the thing is foo but it is labeled bar, document it as bar and provide a note explaining that bar really means foo.

A simple honest description of the situation should provide enough absurdity that someone with common sense will eventually notice it and possibly correct it.

Mike O.


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