Re: Doc Design and Convention

Subject: Re: Doc Design and Convention
From: Robert Lauriston <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 2009 08:43:55 -0800

This isn't about the quality of the index, it's about the content.

Many times I've found the term I want in the index, and it directs me
to a topic that I've already read, which neglects to tell me the menu
path to the dialog box where you set the multiplex input port number.

On Mon, Nov 2, 2009 at 8:09 AM, Chris Despopoulos
<despopoulos_chriss -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> #I regularly encounter documentation that does a pretty good job of
> #telling me what I could figure out for myself, if I COULD FIND WHERE
> #IN THE MENU SYSTEM THEY BURIED THE DAMN COMMAND.
>
> This would be a good case for a decent index.  While the docs are organized by use cases, the index identifies where to find individual settings.  The use case might be "Splitting a Multicast Broadcast Stream" and the index might have entries like:
>
> Multiplex Stream:
>  Input port
>  Outputs, setting multiple
>  Splitting
> Port:
>  Input, multiplex
>  Output, single channel
>
> So if you want to know the tasks and organize your approach to the system, you go to the TOC.  If you forgot where to set the darned multiplex input port, go to the index.
>
> Chances are, the stuff you could have figured out for yourself amounts to things like, "To specify the multiplex input port, enter the multiplex input port number in the multiplex input port text box."  This is what I want to get rid of...  Just because it sports the verb "enter" that doesn't mean it's task oriented.  In fact, there's nothing task oriented about it -- It's just a verbose way of restating the text box label, and labels by definition are not tasks.
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Re: Doc Design and Convention: From: Chris Despopoulos

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