Redistribution: Minimalist survey

Subject: Redistribution: Minimalist survey
From: "logendra (l.) naidoo" <naidoo -at- BNR -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 8 Dec 1994 16:09:00 -0500

Please, if you can only answer a few of my questions, it would
still help.

I am conducting a short survey to determine the benefits and
drawbacks in using a minimalist approach to create an entire
document suite.


The mandate in our department is to parallel the user's
application interface, which is becoming more and more intuitive.
As a writer, this is a concern. I don't want to use an
encyclopaedic approach where steps are over-detailed and so on.
Customers tend to find this approach to writing tedious or
monotonous depending on the ease of use of the technology.


I would rather use a minimalist approach where concepts of the
interface are provided, thereby educating the reader or user with
the tools needed to complete a task.

Example: A concept may be similar to a Macintosh menu system. The
rules governing the concept lie in the hierarchy of information
that is embedded.

Q: Are you familiar with the minimalist approach as proposed
years ago by Carroll?

Q: Have you used this approach in customer documentation before?
If you have, please describe the document's purpose.

Q: If yes to the above question, did the approach improve
customer satisfaction? Would you use the minimalist approach

Q: What is the nature of the manuals that you write (ex.
installation or software user guide, etc.)?

Q: Do you agree with this statement? "The level of detail in
manuals should be weighed against the complexity of the
technology at hand?"

Q: Would you mind providing some comments on using the minimalist
approach to lower production costs and lessen the time to
complete a task ? Other comments?

The results will be posted in one week. Your cooperation is MORE
than appreciated.


Logendra Naidoo
Northern Telecom, Ottawa

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