RE: Coordinating Field Defs and Procedural Info

Subject: RE: Coordinating Field Defs and Procedural Info
From: "Hickling, Lisa (TOR)" <lhickling -at- Express-Scripts -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 8 Nov 2006 09:17:38 -0600

We take a lot for granted about the way we write. We never usually have
to justify our approaches until someone else proposes a different path.
>From the comments received it appears though that there is at least some
method in my particular brand of madness.

Thanks to everyone who weighed in! I really appreciate your comments.
Here are the key considerations in presenting the case for separate
field descriptors complemented by separate, thin, task oriented procs:

Paul (for the challenging approach):
Field-level info in a procedure and concept info in the overview

Description of each tab - what the tab does with the fields laid out in
a table, field, description, permissible values etc as required +
Straight procedural steps with minimal info and refs back to relevant
sections for more details. Occasionally have duplication if I feel
there's too much jumping back and forth.

procedural steps as concise as possible. + If the field requires
definition we do that either in the preamble leading up to the steps, or
in a table that could precede or follow the steps.

field descriptions within a procedure makes the information buried. +
In an ideal world, the field descriptions would be embedded in the
application itself, perhaps available on hover over the field label, and
help would just be procedures, also available in a dedicated application

The procedures include just enough information about the fields to
answer most any question the end-user may have when completing the
fields. Cross-references are included, when appropriate.

Where the field location is clear and the procedure has just followed
an explanation of the widgets that provide the information, then I
wouldn't provide any further information or links.

I prefer giving the definitions prior to the procedure if adding the
definitions make the procedure long and complicated, or if the
definitions break the continuity of the procedure flow.

Document separately and point to where needed: reusable info; info of
interest to only a smaller user subsets; and reference info. Other info
gets fully detailed on the spot.

If I'm missing anything please let me know.

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