Re: Branching...Results

Subject: Re: Branching...Results
From: David Jones/KSBEISD <David_Jones/KSBEISD -dot- KSBEISD -at- DATAHUB -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 1996 08:06:01 HST

>We entirely agree with the task approach, and that's what creates the
branching problem. If we were willing to adopt the old screen-by-screen and
field-by-field approach, we wouldn't have to branch at all. It's the flow
that creates the splits. One of our jobs is to reduce the number of branches
by detecting new tasks in the multiple branchings and breaking them out, so
an average task flow will have a minimal number of branches. Still, much
software isn't thought out well enough to permit the user only two or three
real decisions during a task. Often it's more, and it's the app's fault for
having functions, fields or information on scattered screens that appear in
order of some programmer's opinion, not in order of use by the user.<

Sounds like someone there needs to apply this paragraph from Edmond Weiss' _How
To Write A Usable User Manual_:
"Each system has an inherent usability; each document associated with the
system has its own usability. But even the best documents cannot compensate
effectively for flaws in the system itself. The first law is: Clean
Documentation Cannot Improve Messy Systems."

To me, it sounds like the problem is inherent in the system design.


David Jones, Technical Writer
David_Jones/KSBEISD -dot- KSBEISD -at- Datahub -dot- com
Kamehameha Schools Bishop Estate

"I do not speak for my employer, my computer, or any other living thing."

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