Re: Imperatives in procedures?

Subject: Re: Imperatives in procedures?
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- alltel -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 21 Nov 2005 19:57:17 -0500

I agree with Sue's assessment, even to the point of suggesting
the availability of several forms of documentation. Some few
people will read a manual all the way through. Others won't
touch one, and will simply start using the product to see what
happens. At two companies, Teradyne and Prime Computer, where
I worked before the days of online help, we found that
shirt-pocket-sized cards were especially popular, and that
many customers would read only the card and nothing else.

Information on a card must be terse. Both companies relied on
research that the late Alexis Belash did for Teradyne in 1968,
measuring the pockets of men's shirts at the Brooks Brothers'
store in Boston. He found that most other "pocket" cards (the
IBM 360 "green" card in particular) were too big to fit in a
pocket. It was always a major challange to keep the cards from
becoming mini reference manuals.

Susan W. Gallagher wrote:

That said, no part of any procedure should be buried in
superfluous text. Readers become very discouraged when there's
a bunch of text to wade through before they find the essential
instructions. So much so that they frequently give up reading
the docs and turn to some other form of support.

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Re: Imperatives in procedures?: From: Susan W . Gallagher

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