Re: Why I Hate GUI-Centric Docs (Long)

Subject: Re: Why I Hate GUI-Centric Docs (Long)
From: Chris Borokowski <athloi -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 26 Jul 2007 07:39:25 -0700 (PDT)

If you ever read introductions to the web from 1995-2003 or so, you'll
find that almost all of them are identical for the first 50% -- a brief
well known history, description of the web, and so forth. That's
because it is easy to write once you've done it once. The same is true
of GUI docs or procedure boilerplate. Although it's work, it's mentally
easy for someone who has done it in the past, so many writers like to
go nuts with it and forget about the hard stuff, which is how to
actually get the device to work in a real-world scenario.

I once bought a scanner that came with 47mb of software on CD, two
manuals and a getting started card, all of which went into great detail
about plugging in cables and installing software (stuff I and every
other halfway competent user already knew how to do, should've been an
appendix) and how to use the buttons and proprietary, junky software to
scan. Reality reared its head at some point when I read enough to
realize I could throw out the junky software and all of the manuals,
and install a TWAIN driver and operate the scanner entirely through
Photoshop -- but this was not mentioned in the manual.

--- Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM> wrote:

> As a user, I would have much preferred to open this
> Help file and find a list of tasks, including a task
> titled "To Create a Multiple-Page PDF File" that
> would have walked me through the process, rather than
> having to skim through dialog box descriptions located
> through the help until I found buttons or fields that
> matched the next thing I figured I had to do.
technical writing | consulting | development

Building a website is a piece of cake. Yahoo! Small Business gives you all the tools to get online.

Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Why I Hate GUI-Centric Docs (Long): From: Janice Gelb

Previous by Author: RE: The coming predominance of user experience andtechnicalcommunications
Next by Author: Re: FOUND!! Screen Captures 102.pdf
Previous by Thread: RE: Why I Hate GUI-Centric Docs (Long)
Next by Thread: Re: Why I Hate GUI-Centric Docs (Long)

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads