Re: To number or not to number

Subject: Re: To number or not to number
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 23 Apr 1996 09:16:45 PDT

Numbered sections make the structure of a book obvious, even if the
book design obscures it. Section numbering makes sections easy to
find, and tends to make cross-references short. You can say, "See
section 4.1.3," rather than, "See SNIT SMASHING on page 37." (Just
saying "See page 37" usually loses context and localization unless
your subsections are really long -- in which case, shame on you.)

Numbered sections are more or less invisible to the reader. I just
sampled my bookshelf, and found that I could neither remember nor
predict which of my most frequently referenced manuals had numbered
sections. Some do, some don't.

If you really want to make a manual user-friendly, put a really good
index in the back, don't skimp on illustrations, and test, test, test.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon, President/Managing Editor, High-Tech Technical Writing, Inc.
36475 Norton Creek Road * Blodgett * Oregon * 97326
robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (541) 453-5841 * Fax: (541) 453-4139

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