TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Describing menu navigation From:Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 10 Apr 1998 10:32:54 -0600
> This is pretty fundamental, but I wanted to see if there really was a
> standard for describing menu navigation in Windows.
> What I'm referring to is how to describe the navigation of multiple
> levels of menus. For example, to get to the ATTN: autotext in Word 97,
> you would select Tools => Autotext => Attention Line => ATTN:
I always try to consider how the language I use models the application for
the user. The example here gives me the image of menu with two submenus,
which isn't at all like the application, since the AutoCorrect calls a
dialog box and the Attention Line is (in my best estimation) is a table
cell. I would write the instruction more like this:
1. From the Tools menu, click AutoCorrect.
2. In the AutoCorrect dialog box, select Attention Line.
And so on. It's more verbose than the example you cite, but clarity and
conciseness are both important. If you value conciseness over clarity, you
may be short-changing your users.
Eccentric Technology Consultant
billdb -at- ile -dot- com