Re[4]: Responsible use of Obviously

Subject: Re[4]: Responsible use of Obviously
From: Jane Torpie <Jane_Torpie_at_III-HQ -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1993 11:32:00 EST

Karen Kay writes:

>I would say "Figure 1 illustrates..." You say you put the figure nb.
>at the end for easy scanning, but I think it's easier to find at the
>beginning. Do you have some theoretical basis for your assumption
>that the end of the sentence is where people look for things like
>figures? (I have none for putting it first, other than that topics
>generally come before comments.)

No, I don't either. In the manuals I write, the steps usually fall
into this format:

1. Select File > Open .... First part of a step
has the action a user
should take

The Open File dialog box appears, as Effect of that action
illustrated in Figure 1. or feedback to user
appears in the second
part of a step

The figure numbers sit at the end of "mini-paragraphs" (as illustrated above!).

I stumbled across this convention in my own work. When I was editing or
correcting my manuals, I noticed that I could always go from the figure back to
the text more easily if I could find the fig. number. Then I figured that if I
don't read my wonderful prose when I'm just looking for something, then most
customers don't either. I reexamined my assumptions in terms of different
learning styles and customer satisfaction, and they seemed to check out. That's
the extent of my theory ... it fits our company style guide, passes muster with
my manager and the editors, and just seems to work.

Jane Torpie
Easel Corporation

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