Re: Readers who don't read

Subject: Re: Readers who don't read
From: "Katie" <KATALBE -at- NERVM -dot- NERDC -dot- UFL -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1993 22:24:31 EST

Eric --

In response to your inquiry about how to deal with novice users and setting
out instructions, I have to admit that after 20+ years of using computers
and manuals, I would have found your instructions somewhat confusing too.

The convention that characters inside angle brackets are not typed usually
means that typing those characters is optional, not "forbidden" (at least in
my experience).

I suggest that you break down the instructions into "what the user types"
and "how the computer responds". You can do this either in two columns
or in a sequence structure. So it winds up looking something like this:

You Type: Computer Responds:

* * *

Whatever you decide to do, I've always found it very helpful to include
a section at the very beginning of a manual (as an endpaper if possible, so
that it's easy to find) that very explicitly explains the conventions that
I'll be using.

Good luck.

Katie Albers
katalbe -at- nervm -dot- nerdc -dot- ufl -dot- edu

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