Re: Menus and Toolbars

Subject: Re: Menus and Toolbars
From: Mary Ellen Schutz <me -dot- schutz -at- juno -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 13 Jan 2008 01:32:14 -0600

Ben writes in part:
> In addition to task-oriented info, any opinions or
> insight about documenting reference info about toolbars
> or menus, e.g. listing menu names or buttons followed
> by brief descriptions?

Toolbar icons can be extremely cryptic to new users, particularly if they
are not familiar with the terms used in the tool tips. Best case? You,
as the writer, edit the developer's tool tips to make them useful. Next
best is the brief listing you mention.

Menus, generally, can be discussed in task-oriented info and left at
that. The one exception, I see, is when an established software package
is being updated and the menus are being renamed or menu items are being
moved. The established user base just wants to know how to get things
done with the new interface. I can't tell you how much time I've spent
trying to find things I knew how to do after I upgraded to Acrobat 8.
And do you think I could come up with "the" term for the operation to
search out the information in the documentation? Of course not. A good
indexer is worth their weight in gold! I've come to believe that good
indexing is a mystical mixture of art, science, and wordsmithing...


Mary Ellen Schutz, your Gentle Editor
Gentle Editing, LLC
It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken
men...Frederick Douglass

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.

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