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Maybe you should split it into two documents. One on how to do the process.
The second on what to do with the results. And I second taking a critical
look at the screenshots. Screenshots are only necessary when it's too
difficult to explain in words what is happening on the screen. Otherwise,
assume that they are seeing it. When we have to write about using multiple
applications to set something up, we write directives like, "Back in the XYZ
From: techwr-l-bounces+hannah -dot- drake=formulatrix -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+hannah -dot- drake=formulatrix -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Lynne Wright
Sent: Thursday, October 02, 2014 1:40 PM
To: Debbi Crum; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: keeping the page count down?
Its almost impossible to comment on what you might do differently, without
having some idea/a sample of what you ARE doing.
I mean, if you're explaining a process that takes 15 minutes to do, but your
doc is 50 pages long, then, yes, there's probably a problem...
Maybe you're using too many screenshots, and those shots show the whole UI,
rather than just showing the relevant action? Are you repeating information
again and again? Are you giving more information than the user really needs
(i.e. explaining things that the user will see for themselves on-screen,
such as the results of actions?) Are you writing succinctly in plain
English, or are your sentences overly wordy and complicated -- more like
My advice would be to ask a pro technical writer and/or hire a technical
editor to review and comment on your work.
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tiburoninc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=tiburoninc -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Debbi Crum
Sent: October-02-14 1:19 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: keeping the page count down?
I just had someone complain "why is the stuff you write always so long?".
He's the only person who has said this. I don't think it's what I write (I'm
not that verbose), and I don't go overboard with screen captures.
I think it has more to do with the design of the document itself. This is a
PDF document that explains how to set up cross-references in a third-party
application, so that our application can query it for data. It also briefly
describes how to use those query results. The document is meant for office
workers not developers or IT personnel. The process isn't complex. There's
just a lot of jumping around between our application and the other
application and different screens in each.
Does anyone have suggestions on how to make a document more compact, so I
can get the same amount of information in a smaller "package"? Or can you
give me examples of ones that you think are well done?
Thanks in advance!
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