RE: levels of detail -- are we beyond this?

Subject: RE: levels of detail -- are we beyond this?
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Tom Johnson" <tomjohnson1492 -at- gmail -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 14:37:38 -0600

Tom Johnson wrote:

> I just ran into some detailed instructions on going to a website that
> like this:
> 1. Open Internet Explorer by clicking *Start* > *Programs* >
> Explorer*.
> 2. In the *Address* field, enter ** and press
> *Enter*.
> Is it me, or is this kind of detail totally unnecessary in this day
> age?
> I'd say 99% of the time, people will understand the much simpler
> "1. Go to";

Let me be the first to say both "It Depends" and "Know Your Audience."

That said, unless the doc is _clearly_ aimed at the novice computer
user, this level of detail is not just unnecessary, it's positively
_harmful_. The reader who's owned a computer for more than three days
will be put off and will either stop reading completely or will start
skimming disinterestedly, half-heartedly looking for the useful parts,
and will be more likely to miss something important.



Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


ComponentOne Doc-To-Help gives you everything you need to author and
publish quality Help, Web, and print content. Perfect for technical
authors, developers, and policy writers. Download a FREE trial.

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.

levels of detail -- are we beyond this?: From: Tom Johnson

Previous by Author: RE: Quick and Dirty Online Help tool (Freeware?) needed
Next by Author: RE: Levels of detail -- are we beyond this? (take II)
Previous by Thread: Re: levels of detail -- are we beyond this?
Next by Thread: Levels of detail -- are we beyond this?

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

Sponsored Ads