Re: your mail (fwd)

Subject: Re: your mail (fwd)
From: Al Barten <barten -at- MMFES1 -dot- PSF -dot- GE -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 1995 13:57:44 -0500

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Fri, 13 Jan 1995 13:57:45 -0500 (EST)
From: Al Barten <barten -at- mmfes1>
To: Erik Harris <ewh -at- plaza -dot- ds -dot- adp -dot- com>
Subject: Re: your mail

Thanks for you response. Our immediate interest is with a Windows-based
client-server project using Sybase and PowerBuilder. We also get
involved with Vax and other systems.

I'm a big fan of Horton's work and have a book by Brockmann on order.
I've also seen a copy (or reworked copy - I'm not sure which) of
Microsoft's look and feel document. This latter document (in the form I
saw it) is more general than I would like.

There are numerous pesky little problems that arise when trying to
specify in advance what is essentially a design problem. Our plan is to
begin a project by meeting with the developers and users and setting some
ground rules along the lines of the Microsoft document but catered to the
project at hand, and then updating the document with more specific
requirements as the project develops and unforseen situations arise.
This keeps us from being unnecessarily restrictive at the outset yet
keeps us involved in our role as communicators.

The guide is effectively finished when the software is and provides a
document against which to check the software for consistency. The guide
also becomes the standard for software updates and other similar projects.


On Fri, 13 Jan 1995, Erik Harris wrote:

> One seminal "text" on interface style/design I've used is the Sage Guide to
Screen Design that came with version 3.0 of Dan Bricklin's Demo II prototyping
program. The Guide discussed a lot of useful issues about DOS-screen
interfaces...it was quite helpful to me.

> There are many books in the tech writing field that cover interface
style/design. Two easy-to-find authors are John Brockmann and William
Horton...hit the nearest technical library or bookstore near you and browse.
You'll find more good ideas than you can use!

> You didn't note what type of system you want your guide to cover.
Character-based screens (e.g., DOS, VAX)? MS-windows? X-windows? They all have
their idiosyncrasies and limitations, but often, the design principles are the
same. Microsoft publishes a Windows interface style guide that I *think* is
public domain, or at least inexpensive, but you'd have to ask them to be sure.

> Good luck. I envy your task (our system still runs on DECwriters and uses
line-prompting. Gag!).

> Erik Harris (ewh -at- adp -dot- ds -dot- plaza -dot- com)
> Portland, OR

> > Hi! I'm new to the list, so maybe this has been covered. I'm looking
> > for suggestions, comments, thoughts, samples, ..., about preparing a
> > software interface style guide. Can anyone help? Thanks,


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