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Subject:Re: Concept - Task ratio From:Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com> To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Wed, 02 Feb 2011 13:54:31 -0600
Well okay, here are a couple real-world examples. I can write a very simple how procedure to tell someone how to print to PDF using the Acrobat Professional *Adobe PDF* printer. But at some point, some users are going to need/want more and when they encounter the image settings for the printer driver, they'll need to know why they might choose one *Downsample* option over another or why they might choose one *Compression* option over another (see http://www.writestarr.com/AdobePDFSettings.png).
Similarly, I can write a very simple how-to procedure to tell someone how to reduce the color depth of an image using Corel Paint Shop Pro. But at some point, some users are going to need/want more and when they encounter the *Decrease Color Depth - 256 colors* dialog box (see http://www.writestarr.com/PaintShopProDecreaseColorDepthDialogBox.png) they'll need to know why they might choose one *Palette* option over another, why they might choose one *Reduction method* over another, why they might choose one or more of the available options, etc.
These are real-world examples of where we need the *Why* in addition to the *How*. If I tried to write one *How* topic for either of these two examples, it would probably run to ten or more pages.
Note:The Paint Shop Pro help does have explanations of those things (but they're *not* easy to find. I haven't checked the Acrobat Professional help because I avoid Adobe's dismal help.
Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - http://www.writestarr.com
On 2/2/2011 12:58 PM, Gene Kim-Eng wrote:
> The vast majority of our customers couldn't care less about the "why"
> of wireless networking or downloadable applets. They just want to
> know how to make the #$%^& thing work...now. The only "why" question
> we get is why it doesn't work on its own without them having to do
> whatever the help is telling them to do.
> Gene Kim-Eng
> On Wed, Feb 2, 2011 at 9:28 AM, Mike Starr<mike -at- writestarr -dot- com> wrote:
>> I wouldn't put it in terms of a ratio... if it needs explaining, it needs explaining. Many companies are adopting the Tivo model that Laura reported and I feel that's a big disservice to users. If we help them understand the the why, they'll have an easier time dealing with the how.
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