Re: Representing Computer Interactions (was "comma splices")

Subject: Re: Representing Computer Interactions (was "comma splices")
From: "Dan S. Azlin" <dazlin -at- SHORE -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 13 Jan 1996 04:08:35 -0500

The format that I have seen most often (and which I use) is:

Select File|Open|SOME.FIL

The use of the vertical bar as a seperator is useful because it is
grammatically uncommon (I believe it has some obscure phonetic
application) and catches the eye enough to differentiate the various
menu levels. Using a colon, dash or other commonly used characters raises
issues of preconditioning on the part of the reader in interpreting normal use
of these characters.

In other words, misusing a common colon or dash (et al) as a separator
here will likely cause the reader to loose the flow of the text, even if
only for a moment.

On Wed, 10 Jan 1996, George Allaman wrote:

> This is a system I use when showing friends how to use menus. I would like to
> propose it for technical manuals. I don't think I've seen it used anywhere,
> but it works really nicely.

> If I want a user to select File, then Open, then SOME.FIL, I represent it
> this way:

> Select File:Open:SOME.FIL

> It's concise, and great when the menu structure is deep or you need to
> combine several operations into one statement, like here:

> Select Print:Options:Portrait:Close:Select:Default Printer:Close:OK

> The colon is arbitrary. A dash, semicolon or asterisk would work as well.

> Any comments?

> |George Allaman | |
> |Tech Writer | <clever, meaningful |
> |Denver, Colorado | quip which somehow |
> |Office (303) 624-1619 | summarizes my life |
> |Home (303) 771-8060 | philosophy> |
> |Alternate: georgea -at- csn -dot- net | |

Dan Azlin ** WORD ENGINEERS, Technical Writing & Publishing **
Ph/Fax: 508-921-8908 18 School Street
Internet: dazlin -at- shore -dot- net Beverly, MA 01915-4851

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