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Estimatime the reader's intelligence RE: placement and annotation of screen captures in step-by-step instructions for software manuals
Subject:Estimatime the reader's intelligence RE: placement and annotation of screen captures in step-by-step instructions for software manuals From:"Huber, Mike" <mrhuber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 15 Apr 1998 08:44:58 -0500
As a user, I read manuals with about %1 of my available intelligence.
%90 is dedicated to the task I'm trying to accomplish. That would be
something like "mow the lawn", not "operate the lawnmower".
%90 of what's left is dedicated to the tool that I'm trying to use. Here
is where "operate the lawnmower" fits.
The remaining %1 is divided between reading the manual and imagining
tortures to apply to the idiot who designed the tool so badly as to
require me to read a manual when I just want to get the grass cut. :-)
Don't worry about overestimating my intelligence. As a reader, I enjoy
reading Einstein's explanations of Relativity and working out the
metaphors and relationships in Norse poetry. As a victim of
documentation, I prefer to have everything spelled out as simply as
Office:mike -dot- huber -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com
Home:nax -at- execpc -dot- com
>From: Leila Meyer [SMTP:Leila -dot- Meyer -at- MEGASYS -dot- COM]
>...I think that so many circles and call-outs clutters the
>page and suggests that the reader isn't intelligent enough to get the
>necessary information from the numbered steps and accompanying screen
>captures. Am I overestimating the intelligence of the average reader?
>Should I include the call-outs?