Re: Installation Instructions & Screen Captures

Subject: Re: Installation Instructions & Screen Captures
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- EXPERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 11:15:02 -0800

Michael Barwick asks:
>What's the
>consensus about how thorough the installation instructions ought to be?
>I've been working on the assumption that every step of the process
>should be documented...Today I've had this assumption
>challenged, even though its generally acknowledged that some of the
>audience for these instructions will likely be (somewhat technophobic)
>newbies.

The level of detail depends entirely on the requirements of the target
audience -- and you're right, newbies need details.

Who challenged your assumptions? Your boss? Tech support?

More importantly, *why* did they challenge you? Are they uncomfortable
with the level of detail? ...the page count?

Perhaps some form of progressive disclosure would be more to their
liking--creating a step with a summary of the instructions, then
breaking it down into substeps, like this:

1. Open the file framis.doc

a) Select File > Open from the menu.
b) browse the directory structure until you locate
the framis.doc file
c) Highlight the file name, then click OK

The file appears in the main window.

The advantage to this approach is that power-users only read the
summary -- "open the file" -- and move quickly on to the next step.
Newbies, OTOH, read it all.

>My supervisor has specified that screen captures should keep
>to a width of 400. My problem is that virtually all the screen captures
>for the software are considerably larger than that and my efforts so far
>to shrink them (using Lview Pro) have rendered them unreadable.

Smooth Scaling from Wextech works well. Small type gets kinda fuzzy, but
it's still readable. Make sure you've resized the window as small as
possible before you take the screenshot.

Also, you might want to consider showing only partial screens, focusing
in on the specific area of concern.


Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- expersoft -dot- com
-- The _Guide_ is definitive.
Reality is frequently inaccurate.

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