RE: peanut butter and jelly - revisited

Subject: RE: peanut butter and jelly - revisited
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "Cascio, Justin" <Justin_Cascio -at- tvratings -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 08:46:07 -0800 (PST)

That's not the point, and it was a quick example to
prove a point, maybe not the best.

How much do YOU assume your users know when you write
your documentation. It seems to me that there has been
days of discussion just on how to document the path
from a windows menu to the action and what type of
symbol to use.

Was it a simplistic example? Sure...I am also working
on some real work that takes thought and I don't have
much brain-power to spare right now...I also assumed
that everyone would see the point I was trying to make
without looking at the example word for word.

I'm sure that with a little imagination, you can find
a real hole in anyone's instructions. Wanna try me?
Write the instructions and let's see if I can find a
legitimate ommission.

--- "Cascio, Justin" <Justin_Cascio -at- tvratings -dot- com>
> Do you talk about target audience before doing this
> exercise? It sounds like
> a cute schtick, but unless your target audience is
> aliens with no jars or
> similar items in their culture, and no concept of
> gravity, can't you assume
> that your target audience, if they're savvy enough
> to read instructions, can
> also figure out that jelly falls out of an upturned
> jar?

When I wrote the original response and threw out the
example a couple of weeks ago, I had 3 people email me
privately that I was putting the jelly on wrong. I
happen to do both parts on the same side of the same
slice. Can you assume to know what parts to assume and
what parts not?

> Justin Cascio
> -----Original Message-----
> From: John Posada [mailto:jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com]
> Sent: Wednesday, November 10, 1999 10:10 AM
> Subject: Re: peanut butter and jelly - revisited
> I have done it.
> It has never backfired. Of course, I loaded the
> deck,
> so to speak. Do this by YOU using the instructions

John Posada, Merck Research Laboratories
Sr Technical Writer, WinHelp and html
(work) john_posada -at- merck -dot- com - 732-594-0873
(pers) jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com - 732-291-7811
"The art of creating software that is usable by individuals is a communication skill. It is not a programming skill."
--Bill Atkinson, creator of MacPaint and HyperCard
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Bid and sell for free at

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