Re: Readers who don't read

Subject: Re: Readers who don't read
From: Carol Linden <linden -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 2 Apr 1993 17:29:29 -0500

In response to Eric's question and Laurel's response:

Yes, getting users to read instructions is a problem we deal with
at the software company where I work, too. You're not alone in that,
though that may not make it any less frustrating.

At SAS, we use the convention that Laurel mentioned: put the literal
command on a separate line and indent:

To copy this file, use the COPY command:

copy catalog1.file catalog2.file

Then open CATALOG2 . . .

We also use different fonts for references within text. We still
use capitalization for keywords in text (as in "COPY command" in
above example), but that is not as solid a method as before since
our software now runs on operating systems that are case sensitive.

I agree with Laurel that it helps to keep explanations and literals
separate. I used tables to explain things like "d" for "delete":

Command Definition

d delete a catalog entry
r rename a catalog entry
b browse a catalog entry

Then show only what they literally type in in the how-to material.

I hope this is clear. It is late on Friday. Have a good weekend
and happy writing.

--Carol Linden

Previous by Author: Re: Teach 'em to fish, don't give 'em fish
Next by Author: Disaster Recovery
Previous by Thread: Readers who don't read
Next by Thread: Re: Readers who don't read

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads