RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing

Subject: RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 01 Oct 2009 14:10:01 -0400

However, bear in mind that I opened my article with:

"One of the problems I have with what many interpret as the minimalist
imperative..."

I'm inclined to believe that many of my colleagues approach the
concept of minimalism as a artificial limitation on content that ends
up depriving users of information they need to gain a thorough
understanding of the product. Again, I can tell the users how to
decrease the color depth but it seems like many tech writers would say
not to bother giving the users the reference documentation at all...
just procedures. That's how I believe many interpret the concept of
minimalism.

Mike
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Quoting "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>:

> Similar to Kevin, Mike isn't arguing against Minimalism--as it is
> defined by Carroll. A Minimalist approach doesn't preclude reference
> documentation. It precludes giving step-by-step directions covering how
> to do things that users already know how to do or can easily figure out.
> In the example Mike provides (How to increase color depth....), #1 is
> important as it tells the user where to find the wanted functionality.
> However, a table detailing all of the options could follow #1. And if
> the original image would be irreversibly changed by the process, this
> information would also be included. On the other hand, if the original
> is not irreversibly changed, Minimalist instructions would include
> information on how to undo changes that may have been made by mistake.
> If you would omit anything, it would probably be #2. What user that
> understands color depth and the "256 Color Palette" would need to be
> told to click "OK"?
>
> Having said all that, I have to add that I haven't read Carroll's book
> ten years and might have forgotten something or transmogrified his
> theory into my own pet creation. If anyone who has actually read
> Carroll's work cares to show me the errors in my understanding of
> Minimalism, I'd be grateful.
>
> Leonard

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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: Examples of Minimalist Writing: From: Mike Starr
RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing: From: Leonard C. Porrello

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