Re: Phrasing recommendations

Subject: Re: Phrasing recommendations
From: Robert Heath <robert -dot- heath -at- FRITZ -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 May 1999 12:39:01 -0700

Karen wrote:
> We dealt with this a lot when I was at Intuit, and here's
> what we came up
> with: Use the imperative and an objective point of view. For
> example, "For
> best results, use the default..." The imperative is stronger
> than any "we
> recommend..." or "It is recommended..." statements. Also,
> when you use the
> imperative tone, you leave fewer unanswered questions for the
> user, such as,
> "It is recommended by who? Why is it recommended?" Generally,
> all users want
> the "best results." And you can qualify circumstances in
> which they wouldn't
> choose the default in a note or subsection.

However, you still leave unanswered the user's question of why the default
produces the best results. It therefore strikes me as slightly patronizing,
reminding me of the expression "Father knows best."

On the other hand, it's a minor point for the user unconcerned with the
details. Most users, I assume, will simply want to get the job done quickly.

Robert Heath
Technical Writer
Fritz Companies, Inc.
San Francisco, CA

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