Re: To Preface or Not To Preface

Subject: Re: To Preface or Not To Preface
From: "Less is more." <yvonne -at- VENUS -dot- SMARTSTAR -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Jun 1994 09:17:19 -0700

David Dubin asks about the "Preface":

> I have been told that this practice is becoming passe. Indeed, in a survey of
> several user's manuals from folks like Microsoft and WordPerfect, I found no
> Preface, but rather a Getting Started or About This Guide section preceding
> the first chapter.

I think that many people read the word "Preface" and figure it means "you can
skip this section". Renaming the same information "About This Guide" is a
trick to get people to read the preface.

"Getting Started" is, I think, too much deception. If I see "Getting Started",
I think it means "Getting Started with xxxx Product".

"About this guide" is good because it is honest. I don't think manuals should
be designed so that people should have to read the preface-type information.
It doesn't hurt to give them an idea of what is in the section, though.

Yvonne DeGraw
yvonne -at- smartstar -dot- com
SmartStar Corp.
Santa Barbara, CA

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