re: Imperatives in procedures?

Subject: re: Imperatives in procedures?
From: Steven DeWitt <news -at- stevendewitt -dot- ca>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 22 Nov 2005 10:25:34 -0400

Hi Jeff,

The guideline I follow is to put the imperative at the start unless the reader absolutely needs to know other information first in order to avoid "Throw out bathwater (after removing baby)" situations. If there is navigation info that the reader needs to know, is it possible to put it at the end of the previous instruction instead of at the start of the next?

Good luck

Steven

--
Steven DeWitt, C. Tran. (FR>EN, ES>EN, en>fr)
Fredericton NB CANADA
mail [at] stevendewitt [dot] ca


Le 21-nov-2005 à 17:51, Jeff Scattini a écrit :


Hi all,

I'm currently writing a series of task-oriented documents for a
software application.

I learned that one should always put the user-imperative at the
beginning of each step:

1. Click Start on the toolbar.
2. Select the program you want and double click that program.

However, one of my product managers wants to bury the imperative in
surrounding text:

1. On the left-hand side of the toolbar, click the Start button.
2. You can from there, search for the program that you want and then
click that program to open it. The program window will then open.

I have searched the MS Manual of Style, (which is what we've used as a
starting point for our in-house style guide) and it states that you
can put the navigation before the imperative. Our in-house style guide
states to use the imperative first, but the in-house styles are less
than 6 months old and still fairly fluid.

I'm trying to get a sense if I'm picking a dumb battle or if people
have found that using the imperative is more or less usable for their
readers.

Thanks,
Jeff
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