Re: Readers who don't read

Subject: Re: Readers who don't read
From: "Laurel Lynam, SPIE" <LAUREL -at- MOM -dot- SPIE -dot- ORG>
Date: Thu, 1 Apr 1993 14:53:41 -0700

In response to eric:

In our manuals, we always put exactly what they should type on a line
by itself that shows exactly what is on the screen, what you should do,
and what to expect. The information you are giving is too much for a new
user. For example, in VMS Mail, to delete something, you can just type 'd'
or 'del' or 'delete' or press a function key. We generally give them the
full command in the manual. Then on an informal basis, people learn the
shortcuts. It is better to give the simplest, least complex information
on a Type This: line and then explain why below that line. This allows
for the "lemming" syndrome and cuts down on user support.

Secondly, did you explain somewhere at the top of the section that info in
()'s was not to be typed, also the ()'s? In one of our handouts listing
macros, we have macro names listed as wpm:f(2,3,12,13)cd. The user is
instructed to put the correct printer number in place of the (2,3,12,13).
That information is simply to indicate that the macro works for those
printers in the parens. It seems to have worked fine....but our user
base is only 100 vs. whatever at your univ.

Well, there is my two cents anyway....

laurel -at- mom -dot- spie -dot- org

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