Re: 7 plus or minus 2

Subject: Re: 7 plus or minus 2
From: Chris Hamilton <chamilton -at- GR -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 30 Aug 1996 15:04:18 -0500

geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA wrote:
> For example, if pressing 7 numbers in sequence (to phone
> someone) is a practical maximum for a mixed audience, then
> surely following 7 steps in sequence is equally complex.

He also wrote:
>does it work here[?]

I disagree with the first point and agree with the second. It seems to
me that the number of steps is a function of what you're documenting.
It's possible to have a task that takes 12 steps, maybe. If there's no
logical breaking point in that flow, the process should be 12 steps
long. Imposing arbitrary limits that have nothing to do with the
process doesn't help people to learn the process.

I realize that we technical writers are the smartest peopleon the face
of the earth (at least that's what I keep telling the people I work
with), but a seven plus or minus two rule, in the hands of someone who
doesn't look at context, can create as many problems as it solves.

Chris Hamilton
--
Chris Hamilton, Technical Writer
Greenbrier and Russel
chamilton -at- gr -dot- com
847.330.4146
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