Re: GUI Design vs Documentation (longish)

Subject: Re: GUI Design vs Documentation (longish)
From: David Castro <techwrtr -at- CRL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 07:41:17 -0800

At 04:11 PM 2/27/98 +0100, Alessandro Bottoni wrote:

>I think we should go toward a documentation that carry just the information
>that cannot be effectively carried by the user interface. The user interface
>has a "loading capacity". If you try to put in the interface all the
>availabe information, you will destroy it. A large part of information has
>to be carried by documentation (on paper and on line).
>To get good software, we have to split the information needed with care and
>write it down where it can be more effective. (of course, we have to reduce
>the required information to the least possible amount). For example: it
>would be stupid to tell the user how to perform a task, writing a manual
>page, when we can "lead" him to the wanted result with a Wizard.

I think that one example of a documentation-user interface combination that
does this is Intuit's Quicken. Very few times have I had to refer to the
documentation. The user interface is so easy to use...though, of course, I
did have something to map it to, having used a regular check register
before. But its use of wizards helps in setting up accounts and doing
various other tasks. The tasks that the wizards handle are probably covered
in the manual, but I've never needed to find out, since the wizards tell me
as much as I need to know.

One problem that I've found the few times that I've had to look into their
documentation is that they have to compensate for the lowest common
denominator. Which, apparently, is really, really low! :-/

-David Castro
techwrtr -at- crl -dot- com

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