Re: Using Notes in User Manuals

Subject: Re: Using Notes in User Manuals
From: Gail DeCamp <decampg -at- SMTPLINK -dot- NGC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Jan 1995 11:24:05 PST

I created a three-tier system which worked this way:

Warnings had a skull-and-crossbones icon in the margin and the word WARNING
centered, all caps, different font in the text. They denoted something that
would cause injury or death (like high voltage).

Cautions had an exploding computer icon in the margin and the word CAUTION
(centered, all caps, same font as the warning) in the text. They denoted
something that would cause harm to equipment (like hooking our 5v widget
directly to a commercial power source without using the transformer that came
with the widget).

Notes had a notepad-and-pencil icon in the margin and the word NOTE (centered,
all caps, same font) in the text. They denoted something that would save the
user time (in other words, something the user absolutely had to know to install
the product, and would waste lots of time tinkering with it if he/she didn't
know it. )

Hope this helps.


Gail DeCamp
speaking from, but not for, Network General Corporation

My department is currently reevaluating how we use notes in our manuals.
Cautions and warnings seem to have clear guidelines, because of their legal
ramifications and evolution out of the Mil Spec and standards worlds. Using
notes seems to be less well-defined for style and usage. How do you use notes?
What are their purpose? How many are too many?

Opinions and guidelines are welcomed.
Thanks.


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