Re: click to add

Subject: Re: click to add
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 14:44:00 -0700

Someone wrote (sig line?):

> This is an interesting point because there are two standards.
> One would include Microsoft standards of To do x, click x. This
> is universal through microsoft documentation. Then again I've always
> been taught to write in active voice (click x, to do x)

Well, you could write in active voice and still produce either of those
sentences. The difference in the syntax here is not active or passive
construction but whether the infinitive phrase precedes or follows the
main clause.

I agree with Geoff and other who've put the desired effect first. In
addition to providing an advanced organizer and allowing the user a
moment to prepare for the upcoming information, it also inhibits users
from acting prematurely and doing something they don't want to do. I
might be more sensitive to the latter issue since I used to write for a
production environment (where such an error could trash an expensive
silicon wafer). I also prefer adding feedback comments following

To do h, click j. V happens (appears, closes, opens, exits,
quits, etc).

I've heard some support from various methodologies for this approach
(one-stop docs, WinHelp). Does anyone know of research that disputes
this approach?

Bill Burns
Technical Writer
billdb -at- ile -dot- com

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