Re[2]: Safety & Manuals

Subject: Re[2]: Safety & Manuals
From: Carma C Allen <ccallen -at- CCGATE -dot- DP -dot- BECKMAN -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 1995 10:54:13 -0800

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OK=C4I committed the cardinal sin for technical writers: I didn't com=
municate=20
clearly.

We don't err on the side of caution by repeating warnings and caution=
s. We=20
state the warning once at the beginning of the procedure. What we *do=
* try to=20
include are warnings about *all* hazards that could logically result =
=66rom=20
incorrectly following the procedure.

I am suitably humbled by my failure to communicate effectively.

Carma

=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9reply =
separator=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=F9=
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>Carma Allen said, of her company's manuals:=20

>The instrument manual contains model-specific warnings and
>cautions and we believe in erring on the side of caution.

>Do you have a problem where the contents of the manual then become:

WARNING (topic)
WARNING (topic)
WARNING (topic)
Procedure step.
-----Page Break----
WARNING (Topic repeated from previous page)
WARNING (Topic repeated from previous page)
CAUTION (Topic)
Procedure step.
WARNING (Topic)
WARNING (Topic)
Procedure step.
-----Page Break-----
WARNING (Topic)
Procedure step.


And so forth. The upshot is that we've got more warnings and cautions=
on the
page than procedural steps. It's kinda like having instructions on ho=
w to
drive from Point A to Point B, but every time there's a new line of=
=20
instruction, you get "WARNING: Fasten your seat belt. Failure to comp=
ly could
result in injury or death." But of course, you buckled the seat belt =
in the
first step....

I'm afraid that readability suffers, to a point where users will simp=
ly stop
following the manual altogether. Does this make any sense?

Rick Lippincott
Eaton Semiconductor
Beverly, MA
rlippinc -at- bev -dot- etn -dot- com


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