Re: documenting "features"

Subject: Re: documenting "features"
From: Bob Gembey <bob -at- SUPERNOVA -dot- NL>
Date: Tue, 18 May 1999 10:19:12 +0200

This reminds me of a recent thread concerning whether TW's shoud comment on
the User Interface.

As a technical writer, you're documentation is part of the product, and you
have a responsibility to present this in the best light as possible, to the
audience. Just describe it, with no judgments one way or the other. If
the users don't like it, they'll complain. In the meantime, as an
alpha-user, agitate like hell to get it changed.

From: Kathryn Northcut[SMTP:KNorthcut -at- TASC -dot- USDA -dot- GOV]
Reply To: Kathryn Northcut
Sent: Monday, May 17, 1999 7:01 PM
Subject: documenting "features"

Here's the situation: Software documentation. Purpose: data entry for
various purposes. Problem: they have to have NumLock on to use the
keypad to enter numbers into the fields, BUT with NumLock on, the
keyboard shortcuts for access to the menus are disabled (i.e., the ALT
key doesn't work).

In the documents I inherited, users were pushed to use the keyboard
because it's faster than the mouse (I know, that's debatable, but not the
point). Fact is, there are LOTS of menu options and almost all of them
comes with a shortcut/accelerator sequence.

I must document this **feature** now, telling users to toggle NumLock off
and on if they want to use both they keyboard shortcuts to menus AND
the keypad for numeric entries. I am documentationally disabled because
I have no user profiles, but my own use of the programs tells me that
they keypad and menus are just about equally important, so I can't just
disregard one or the other.

Does this strike anyone else as a little strange or cumbersome? It's a
slow day and I could use brilliant ideas and/or moral support.


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