RE: Help file TOC Sentence VS Question

Subject: RE: Help file TOC Sentence VS Question
From: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>
To: "Chris Vickery" <cvickery -at- arenasolutions -dot- com>, <kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 28 Oct 2009 17:03:04 -0700

I'm not sure I would make that assumption. I'm not sure what to call it,
but in testing there is a lot of dogma about and guessing of what the
user might think/do that really doesn't have much to do with how a user
really interacts with documents and applications.

I think a lot has to do with style and consistency. In the example I
used, the TOC would look like this:

Time Cards
Understanding
Creating
Viewing
Finding

And the corresponding chapter titles would look like this:

Understanding Time Cards
Creating Time Cards
Viewing Time Cards
Finding Time Cards

Would an average user who goes from the TOC entry to the chapter be
confused by this type of treatment? I don't think so. Would he think
that the TOC was messed up? I seriously doubt it. I think the user would
be confused or think there are mistakes in the TOC only if the treatment
were inconsistent, with some TOC entries being abbreviated while others
aren't.

(Of course, as Robert Lauriston suggests, this approach would work only
with authoring systems that don't use chapter titles to build the TOC.)

Leonard


-----Original Message-----
From: Chris Vickery [mailto:cvickery -at- arenasolutions -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, October 28, 2009 4:43 PM
To: Leonard C. Porrello; kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com
Cc: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Help file TOC Sentence VS Question

" do people think about chapter headings being slightly different from
their corresponding TOC entry?"

I just had an issue with this...I'm implementing a new Help system, and
I shortened some of the help topic links in the TOC so they wouldn't
wrap in the TOC pane. Invariably, my testers thought the discrepancy
between the text in the TOC and the title of the topic was a bug. I took
that to mean users would be tripped up similarly.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Help file TOC Sentence VS Question: From: kathleen
RE: Help file TOC Sentence VS Question: From: Leonard C. Porrello
RE: Help file TOC Sentence VS Question: From: Chris Vickery

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