Re: Single-Step Procs and Latin Words

Subject: Re: Single-Step Procs and Latin Words
From: Ginna Watts <gwatts -at- PIM -dot- BC -dot- CA>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 16:25:55 -0700

At 12:44 PM 8/1/97 -0500, Horace Smith wrote:
>1. A single-step procedure is just as wrong as a single subordinate
heading
>and for the same reason. Either come up with a second step or incorporate
>the step into the regular text. It's also a little hard to think of a
>process that needs a procedure that can be only a single step.
>

(jumping into the fray...) I beg to disagree. I have a reference guide that
is divided into modules, as is the software. Each module section (organized
alphabetically) has the same structure: introduction, procedure, options
etc. The manual is set up so that the user who just wants to remember
which options are valid for module X can find the info very quickly, since
the format is the same each time.

Now, I have always followed the directive that if order in a list is
critical, you number it. If order is not important, use bullets. (Obviously
there are exceptions the this rule, there always are, but keep with me
here.) So...in my procedure section of each module, the steps are numbered.
The user MUST do 2 before 3 and so on. Most modules have at least three
steps, and some up to ten. BUT there are a couple (three? four?) that are
very, very simple.

The manual I played with bullets, arrows etc. for the procedure section,
but I realized that deviating from the format, even once, looked more
confusing than one lonely step. It looked there were no critical steps at
all, according to one user. So I left them numbered, even at one. Having
a bullet where a bullet didn't belong just seemed wrong!

Ginna (working the longest Friday before a long weekend ever!)
Ginna Watts - Technical Writer
Pacific International Mapping Corp.
250-727-0727
gwatts -at- pim -dot- bc -dot- ca

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