Re: What *is* user-friendly...

Subject: Re: What *is* user-friendly...
From: Susan Seifert <sseifert -at- FAIRFIELD -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 13:47:34 -0700

At 5:32 PM 1/22/96, Wolf Lahti wrote:
>Rick Lippincott said
>>
>>I tend to agree with WandaJane. For me, the term "user friendly" simply means
>>"easy to use." A document does not have to contain cartoons, smiley faces,
>>or pointing characters in order to be easy to use. In fact, as we all know,
>>a manual could be -loaded- with these things yet still incomprehensible and
>>useless for explaining procedures.
>>

>On the other hand, a well-done cartoon (and they are admitedly few and far
>between) can aid imeasurably in imparting knowledge (See Gonick's _Cartoon
>Guide to Genetics_ for an excellent example. His _Cartoon Guide to Physics_
>was far less effective, suffering primarily from a lack of editing.)


>>I don't need a wacky index, I need a nice, thick, clearly written index
>>that links back to headings that match the feature names.
>>

>I agree this is a need, but it is a need I have yet to see fulfilled.
>Everyone seems to treat indexing as some arcane art whereas it is a very
>straightforward, albeit tedious, task. I'd like to find even one book
>related to computing that has a decent index!



Oh, when I sit down with a manual I don't want cartoons, or cute stories
about your Aunt Edna, I just want the straight poop.

IMHO, the documentation needs to make the info easy to find and easy to
understand, and need to be complete. If we organize the material properly
we can do this with even the most arcane, complex and voluminous material.
That's what I love about tech writing...it's like starting out with a real
mess of a tangle and making it simple, neat and clean. Love it.

Susan


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