Re: Procedural Steps

Subject: Re: Procedural Steps
From: Marilynne Smith <mrsmith -at- CTS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Oct 1996 23:03:15 -0800

Try a table of this sort (Imagine the headers going across the page)

To do this step
Take this Action
To get this result

I've been using this form for the past year. It would seem to allow you to
read just the steps or every single word, depending on how much information
you need.

Marilynne (stepping back so people can blow holes in my theory)

At 08:14 AM 10/30/96 PST, Eric J. Ray wrote:

>I've been doing some research into using procedural
>steps, as in:

>1. Select some text.
>2. Click the B button.
>3. Do something else.

>I've been looking into several issues, but noticed
>that some commercial software manuals (as in the
>Dummies books, XXX Made Easy, ABCs of XXX,
>and similar series) often do not consistently
>or regularly number the steps.

>I've always assumed that each numbered step should
>reflect an action on the part of the reader. That is,
>if there are three things the reader must do,
>there should be three steps. I've found that many
>books present the information as
>1. Select some text.
>2. The text will appear highlighted on the screen.
>3. Click the B button.
>4. The text will be boldfaced.
>5. Do something else.

>with all kinds of numbered stuff that doesn't require

>Alternatively, many present the information in
>paragraph form, as in.
> To apply boldface formatting to text, select the
> text, then click the B button. After you're finished,
> do something else.
>One book I sampled doesn't use a numbered list
>in about 300 pages.

>Do any of you know anything about the various schools
>of thought or usability tests that would support
>either of the second two examples? I personally
>REALLY object to the numbered non-steps, and
>think that the paragraph approach leaves a lot
>to be desired, but someone's blowing a lot of
>money on publishing these books -- comments?


>Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
>TECHWR-L Listowner

Marilynne Smith
mrsmith -at- cts -dot- com

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