RE: Repetition is the mother of...

Subject: RE: Repetition is the mother of...
From: "Dan Goldstein" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 20 Apr 2011 12:26:18 -0400

I have no preference. This is a classic document requirement question
that tech writers pose to the customer/client/boss/collaborator. If we
don't know and can't ascertain what the reader(s) would prefer, we make
an educated guess.

A disadvantage of repetition is that some readers dislike the increased
document size. A disadvantage of linking is that some readers dislike
following links.

-----Original Message-----
From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Sent: Wednesday, April 20, 2011 12:14 PM
To: techwr-l -at- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Repetition is the mother of...

If your WebHelp or PDF customer document had a couple or three places
where a user might legitimately have use for a piece of information,
would your preference be:

a) put the info where it might be useful, even if it's repeated on
several pages (perhaps use a snippet or variable), like the
configuration/setup section, the concepts section, the admin section, or

b) put the info on the most likely page, then put links to that page on
any other page where there might be a need , but don't physically repeat
any info more than once ?

Why not?

For bonus points, what do you think of the notion of explaining things
differently in different places?
Different wording, different emphasis, possibly different examples.
Does that:

a) help people who have different backgrounds or different ways of
grasping things, or

b) add clutter, bloat, and potential confusion


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