Re: Chapter summaries at start of doc: yes/no?
2--If the Index and TOC are solid, users will look there and be
directed straight to the appropriate location in the manual. Analysis
3--If they are going straight to the correct location in the manual,
they are not reading the chapter summary.
4--Text unread is wasted.
This reasoning was confirmed--solidly--by the documentation and
whole-product usability tests in which I've been involved (back in the
good ol' days when my doc group had the resources to do formal
Advance organizers at the book and chapter level have their place in
instructional design. If the user will read the document in a linear
fashion, these devices help them stay oriented and improve learning.
But for most reference documents, they're a waste of resources for
both writer and reader. An exception might be for an unlocalized
English document which will be used by a high-context,
English-as-a-second-language audience; those audiences seem to read
any book cover-to-cover.
Colorado Springs, Colorado
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