Re: Hypertext Development/Organization Query

Subject: Re: Hypertext Development/Organization Query
From: "Ivie, Guy" <GuyI -at- CORPMAIL -dot- FOLLETT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 17:26:00 PDT

<snip>

Can anyone point to actual usability research results on
organizing Reference material by task vs alphabetically,
particularly in combination with tutorial material already
organized by task?


<snip>

I can't point to any research in this area. However, you could present it
both ways. The difficulty of doing it depends on your authoring tool(s),
I guess. With HDK, I present an organized TOC that offers everything in
the hierarchy I think works, e.g., organized by task sequence. A click of
a button turns the TOC into an alphabetically sorted list. That
capability is built into HDK. Other tools may have some similar
capability, or you might be able to manage with macros.

Guy Ivie
Follett Campus Resources
GuyI -at- corpmail -dot- follett -dot- com


----------
From: TECHWR-L[SMTP:TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU]
Sent: Tuesday, April 29, 1997 13:58
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Hypertext Development/Organization Query

Gang,
This message is forwarded from a list reader who would
prefer to remain anonymous. Please direct all discussion
TO THE LIST, because I won't be able to forward comments
to said reader.
Thanks!
Eric
***********************************

Colleagues--

I'm preparing a hypertext document about a product. I conceive it as
three chunks:
a tutorial chunk, organized by tasks
an extensive reference chunk, command by command,
with all the details
and a reference summary chunk that just gives the syntax
of each command.

They would be extensivly cross-linked, so that if you
look at the READ command in the summary, you have direct
links to the full reference material about the READ command
and to the tutorial about reading.

Likewise, in the tutorial about COMPUTE there would
be a link to the full reference material for the
ADD command, the SUBTRACT command, and so on.

Now comes the question...I conceive the "extensive reference"
section as encyclopedic (that is, alphabetically organized).
My manager prefers a more task-oriented grouping there AS WELL
as in the tutorial section.

I argue that readers using the reference section know what
they want to look up, and alphabetic organization makes
great sense. My fallback is, of course, that the reference
summary would naturally be alphabetical, and the reader COULD
gain access to the full reference for BABBLE by finding
BABBLE alphabetically in the summary and following the link.

Can anyone point to actual usability research results on
organizing Reference material by task vs alphabetically,
particularly in combination with tutorial material already
organized by task?

-----


**************************************************
Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner http://www.raycomm.com/

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