RE: Mac vs PC users

Subject: RE: Mac vs PC users
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com" <dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 2010 09:15:06 -0700

Deborah Hemstreet wrote:

> From my perspective, it is terribly confusing to have up to 4-key
> combinations for keyboard shortcuts, AND to have as many as three or four
> different ways to do the same thing.
>
> I am writing so many instructions about those FOUR methods it's driving me
> nuts! As a user, I get confused when there are too many ways to do the same
> thing. I asked what the preferred method was, and answer:
> "Everyone is different, we know x is not done much, but someone might
> complain if we take it out, and we put y in because someone else
> complained, and of course we have to have Z because that is the MAC way of
> doing it..."

Does the person who's telling you this have the authority to make it stick? If not, I'd politely thank him or her and say, "If Z is the 'Mac way,' then that's the one I'll describe."

Documenting all the different ways of accomplishing the same task is a very bad idea, IMHO. And I believe you'll find plenty of tech writing resources that back me up.

If your procedures are full of steps that begin "Do one of the following," followed by a bullet list, just to tell readers how to select a menu item, it's both confusing and tedious. I think most users will quickly tire of this and give up on the help. I know I would.


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
303-223-5111
------
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom
303-903-6372
------




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Follow-Ups:

References:
Mac vs PC users: From: Deborah Hemstreet
Re: Mac vs PC users: From: Tim Murray
Re: Mac vs PC users: From: Deborah Hemstreet

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