Re: Acronyms in section headers

Subject: Re: Acronyms in section headers
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- EXPERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Dec 1995 13:09:25 -0800

At 1:28 AM 12/12/95, Grant Lowe wrote:
>I'm documenting a fair number of screens and would like your feedback. A lot
>of these screens have acronyms in their titles. For consistency between the
>program and the documentation, I have been leaving the acronym in my section
>headers (so a user can find a
>specific screen more easily), and then spelling out and defining the acronym
>in the first body paragraph. However, somebody brought up that I should
>consider spelling out the acronym in both the header and the body text. Any

Ideally, you're section headers would be task-centric rather than
program-centric, so the section headers would not necessarily echo
the name of the dialog they document. For example:

Creating a Stamafragit

Use the Stamafragit Hodgpodge Iteration Tool (SHIT)
to create one or more stamafragits...

However, if it's too late to reorganize, I'd consider whether the
typical user will be more familiar with the acronym or the spelled
out version. If you believe the user will be more familiar with
the acronym, or if you think the user is totally unfamiliar with
the task and will go to the manual after accessing the screen,
use the acronym in the TOC, not the spelled out version.

If however, you think the user will know the spelled out version
better (or can catch a better clue with it), by all means, spell
it out.

In any case, reference six-ways-from-Sunday in the index to provide
an entry point for the users that don't fit the typical mold.

Hope this helps.

Sue Gallagher
Expersoft Corporation
San Diego, CA
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com

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