[no subject]

From: Suzette Seveny <sseveny -at- PETVALU -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 16:58:58 -0400

I have a small situation that I would like some advice on how to handle. I am
currently documenting a rather complex application. Part of my job involves
user testing, so I usually try to mention potential "hazards" in design before
an application gets to the user testing phase. Most developers are comfortable
with this and at least discuss/consider suggestions.

When the application is loaded (windows 95), it brings up a blank, grey screen
with three options on the Standard Toolbar: File, View, Help.

Under File, there is only the option to setup the printer.
Under View, all other options (oops - I mean commands) appear, such as
templates, statements, etc.
There is nothing under Help.

I commented to the developer that :
a) My initial reaction to the blank, grey screen was that the application was
not working or loading properly. I am not a neophyte, and this WAS my initial
reaction. I felt there should be some kind of message/graphic/anything.
b) To add a template, I would select View>>Templates. When the list of
templates appear, I select File>>New Template and answer about 50 questions.
To generate a statement, I would select View>>Statements. When the list of
statements appear, I select File>>Generate Statement.
I felt that this process was confusing - the first thing the user has to do is
add templates. I felt that the poor View option was being overworked.

The developer responded quite defensively, along the lines of "Well this is a
complex application with a very intricate menu system. It is not like a word
processing program that will be mass distributed."

At this point, I got angry and stated that while I had never documented a word
processing program, I had documented hundreds of complex, limited audience
applications. I then ended the meeting and said we would continue another

My options are: (I'm still angry)
1. Put the developer's phone number in the help file.
2. Work on one of the many other, more enjoyable projects I have on my desk
and slow his down.(I know - this isn't really an option - it would be spiteful,
but it would feel good).

Seriously, did I have a reason to get upset (guilt is setting in). How would
you guys have handled this situation?

Suzette Seveny
Markham, Ontario, Canada
sseveny -at- petvalu -dot- com or suzette -at- yesic -dot- com

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