TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: what to use as sample text From:Karen Gwynn/Datatel <Karen_Gwynn -at- DATATEL -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 15 Mar 1996 08:39:38 EDT
our screen samples use to be generated from our development tool and each field
would show what is called "sequence letters:" the first field that was filled
in -- either by the system or the user -- was "a," the next "b," etc. The
length of the field was represented by the number of letters. Thus, if a field
was five character long, it might be represented as "eeeee". Our users hated
it. It didn't give them any concept of what a completed screen was suppose to
We started using "sample data" several years ago and it has gotten a much
better response. As long as the samples are realistic (a field representing
income of a college student, for example, should show something like $2,000,
not $200,000 or $2) they have no problem with it. Now of course, our screens
are in paper doc and when the text references the screen, it is clear that this
is an example. Also, in the text, we are clear about making the distinction
between examples of codes that they will define at their site ("Example
academic levels include UG for undergraduate and GR for graduate") versus codes
that they cannot change and must use the ones provided ("Valid blah codes are A
for accepted and D for denied").