Re: Usability -- page numbering

Subject: Re: Usability -- page numbering
From: Fred M Jacobson <fred -at- BOOLE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 19 Nov 1993 16:04:26 PST

I figure I've spent about thirteen months of my (long) career updating
manuals. (T-shirt slogan: "Does anal-retentive have a hyphen?") I'm
sure than many users (for example, field engineers) still _have_ to
do this, but I hardly think it's the way of the future. (At least some
companies are dumping field technical documents on CD-ROM so the field
people only have to lug around a lap-top with a CD-ROM instead of 40
volumes of paper.) Indeed, if you publish update packages, _do_ your
users actually install them? What's the alternative? For them and for

> We don't use the 12a, 12b, etc. method because we might
> have the case where we need to insert another page between 12b and 12c, then
> things get really messy (12bi, 12bii ???).

This, in particular, is _not_ a problem. If I used a-pages and I wanted to
add one between 12b and 12c, I'd just send out (a new) 12c and all following
pages before 13. (Of course, you generally have to supply a new table of
contents, list of figures, index, and the like with every update package.
How silly I felt when it was five times bigger than the update pages!)

Really, this is another case where you need to ask what the purpose of the
document is and design it appropriately. Clearly, there is no one right
answer to this question.

If you do decide to number by chapter so that updates don't require so many
pages, do it right. I have a reference manual next to me (from another
company) that has a page 2-334 and a page 3-216. What's wrong with this

-Fred (speaking only for me, as usual)
INTERNET: fred -at- boole -dot- com PHONE: (408) 526-3292 FAX: (408) 526-3055
USPS: Fred Jacobson / Boole & Babbage / 3131 Zanker Road / San Jose CA 95134

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