Re: What does a window do???

Subject: Re: What does a window do???
From: Chuck <writer -at- BEST -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 23:20:26 -0700

Nancy Smith wrote:
> So, folks -- what's the latest, greatest, most appropriate expression to use
> in a procedure to indicate that the software is responding to the user
> action and "Behold -- The window --- !" (does what???)
> And, can you point me to an authoritative source for whatever your answer
> is?

I don't know if you can describe it as "authoritative, but I found a
couple of interesting things in one of the latest manuals of Microsoft.
(What? Microsoft produces manuals still?) I purchased the FrontPage 2000
upgrade yesterday and was reading though the beginning of the manual,
title "Getting Started with Microsoft FrontPage 2000."

To answer the question, Microsoft is using the software as agent. But it
is doing so in the 2nd paragraph of a step.

For example, here's a sample from one procedure:

To import a page into a web
3. On the Insert menu, Click File.

FrontPage displays the Select File dialog box. Here, you can....

4. In the Select File dialog box, navigate to...

Admittedly, this is from a tutorial section of the manual.
Interestingly, after the tutorial, there aren't any numbered procedures.
In the rest of the manual, user tasks are described with single bulleted
steps or in plain paragraphs!

Actually, one way I have created procedures was using a structure
similar to the above, but without the intermediary paragraph. The
appearance of the next GUI element (in this example, the Select File
dialog box) is implied at the beginning of the next step. I have never
tried to get feedback to see if this method is more usable.

One intereting side note: I noticed the "different" way this manual
described getting started on a menu: "On the XXX menu...." I have always
been used to saying "From the XXXX menu...."

Caveat: this is all from the printed doc. I haven't investigated the
online Help yet.

"[Programmers] cannot successfully be asked to design for users
because...inevitably, they will make judgments based on the
difficult of coding and not on the user's real needs."
- Alan Cooper
"About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design"

Chuck Martin


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