Opinion on outline numbering for chapters/sections?

Subject: Opinion on outline numbering for chapters/sections?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Gina Jones <gina -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 2008 14:12:27 -0400

Gina Jones wondered: <<I need some opinions on my numbering sequence
in a User Guide. My client specifically requested that I embed the
Quick Start into the manual and provide more details. I'm not a fan
of outline numbering in user guides, but must follow their corporate
style guide. Below is this particular numbering sequence.
2.2*** Software Quick Start
2.2.1 Set Up Software Web Appliance A) Configure the Web Appliance
<Step/Action table here> B) Configure the Analyzers
<Step/Action table here> >>

The first thing I'd note is that the first two headings serve little
or no useful purpose, particularly if they are only headings and have
no text between them and the next headings. Why not simplify collapse
the hierarchy as follows:

2.2 Quickstart guide for the [name] software
2.2.1 Configuring the Web Appliance
2.2.2 Confguring the analyzers

And so on. Better still, if you can convince them to bundle the
quickstart guide separately, move that information to the title page,
and the structure then becomes:
Quickstart guide for the [name] software
1. Configuring the Web Appliance
2. Confguring the analyzers

Even if the client requires outline numbering, it should be possible
to convince them to let section headings exist without numbers, as I
proposed in my second example.

-- Geoff Hart
ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com
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opinion on outline numbering for chapters/sections: From: Gina Jones

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