Re: Use of Optional in instructions

Subject: Re: Use of Optional in instructions
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l List <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, "Bruce Megan \(ST-CO/ENG2.2\)" <Megan -dot- Bruce -at- us -dot- bosch -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Sep 2009 13:49:57 -0700 (PDT)

You should put the "optional" indicator at the start of the procedure step, for the same reason that you should put hazard indicators at the start: because the user needs to know what to look out for *before* he gets into doing it. When users are following a procedure they usually breeze right through - after all, they want to get the job done as quickly as possible. So they have a smooth flow of thought/action going, and they'll just keep going on mental inertia unless you interrupt the flow where necessary. If the put the "optional" indicator at the end, you'll have a lot of users who do the step and then, perhaps too late, he realizes he didn't want to do that after all. That could cause lost time and people getting angry because they have to back up and start over again, possibly having to discard work already done.


--- On Fri, 9/11/09, Bruce Megan (ST-CO/ENG2.2) <Megan -dot- Bruce -at- us -dot- bosch -dot- com> wrote:

> From: Bruce Megan (ST-CO/ENG2.2) <Megan -dot- Bruce -at- us -dot- bosch -dot- com>
> Subject: Use of Optional in instructions
> To: "techwr-l List" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Friday, September 11, 2009, 11:34 AM
> Hello Everyone,
>
> An interesting debate has started at my workplace... is the
> following
> use of "optional" acceptable? If not, any suggestions on
> other ways to
> 1.    Select the Tx Inhibit check box, to
> block the operator from
> transmitting audio (optional).
>
> A SME has put forth the argument that a user may not catch
> the
> (optional) due to not reading the entire instruction.
>
> Your thoughts are appreciated.
> Thanks,
> Megan
>
> Bruce Megan (ST-CO/ENG2.2)
> www.boschcommunications.com
>
>
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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References:
Use of Optional in instructions: From: Bruce Megan (ST-CO/ENG2.2)

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