Re: Karen's Steps

Subject: Re: Karen's Steps
From: BurkBrick -at- AOL -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 1994 09:07:52 EDT

>But, I wonder if it would be wise to include no more than
>5 actual steps
>in a given procedure if for no other reason that a reader's
>experience with 3 and 5 step processes.

I'm trying to think how I can implement a five-step procedure. One of the
projects I'm working on right now takes four steps just to get into the form
the user will enter information into.

I've already broken the procedures into sub-heads wherever possible, but
they'll have to go through a particular set of steps to accomplish a task
(one task has 24 steps!). I'm using graphics on the left side of the column
to let them key into what they need to do as a "quick guide" for them once
they learn the detail.

I find it difficult to imagine condensing 24 steps into 5, and there aren't
comfortable break points in this particular document.

Anyway, I'm not sure a 5-step approach is practical in many cases.

>I let a general principal of
>cognition guide me: people can process/remember about
>7 items at a time. Actually, I shorten it to 5, because
>the rule is based on 7 plus or minus 2, and I don't want
>to drop my readers off the low end of the bell curve. :-)

I'm not sure if cognition is important in steps - I'm not asking them to
remember, I'm asking them to follow the steps. Yes, they will have to know
these steps eventually (actually, this project could use a training guide and
an "I've learned the basics" guide, but that's not in the quote), but it's
more important that they become familiar with the program at this stage.
Opinions? (as if I need to ask for them :^)


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