Re: Looking for Opinions/Criticism

Subject: Re: Looking for Opinions/Criticism
From: John -dot- Cornellier -at- PARIS -dot- IE -dot- PHILIPS -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 26 Aug 1997 15:08:25 +0200

I agree with Larry that the "find a string" procedure is too detailed for users
at developer level. It's overkill. Users are going to get to Step 4 "Specify in
which direction to move the search in the Direction group box." and skip the

How many ways are there to rewrite a procedure? How many subscribers are there
on this list? Consider this:

You can search for a text string according to:
* location on the hard disk or in RAM
* whether Regular expr. (whatever that means)
* (anything else interesting/useful in the Options button)
<H2>To find a string</H2>
1. From the Search menu, select Find string.
2. In the Search value field, enter a search sting.
3. Select the options to control the search. For more information on search
options, see <jump to detailed description>.
4. Click Find.

If your users are really advanced, you could even delete everything above <H2>

You probably know that help should be oriented around what the user can
potentially _do_, rather than around descriptions of the interface. If the
description starts with HOW, before having stated WHY, the user's reaction will
be "so what?".

It's true that it wouldn't take too many brain cells to figure out from the
interface the last 3 steps of the above procedure. But some of those fields &
buttons could be hidden among dozens of controls. The weary worker might welcome
a bit of an intro. It's nice to know what you're looking for, otherwise you have
to look at each of the controls before deciding what to do.

Re. your rewrite:
You wrote "Use the Find String dialog box to find a string of characters". Isn't
it better to say "to search for a string" because you might not _find_ it?

The fact that they can use the toolbar is, I think not worth putting in this
part of the help. The whole point of toolbars is that they be intuitive. Are you
using toolbar tips? Ditto keyboard shortcuts. Put them in their own section.
People either use them or they don't. If the former they'll get 'em off the
interface or seek them out in the help.

Hope you find the criticism positive!
mailto:john -dot- cornellier -at- paris -dot- ie -dot- philips -dot- com

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