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I agree. I can't remember where or when I saw it, but I know I read at
least one study that said that the more ways there are to do things, the
more confusing it is to the users. I usually only document one way,
although I might provide information in an introductory topic about how
to find out what the keyboard shortcuts are, etc., or maybe a tip or two
about an alternate way to do one or two tasks.
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
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom
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