Re: how to list items

Subject: Re: how to list items
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Mar 2004 12:28:05 -0500

Richard G. Combs wrote:

You mentioned not knowing the criteria, if any, used to determine the
interface order. You need to ask. If there is a logic to it (dependencies,
etc.), is that logic is meaningful or useful to the user, or is it based on
relationships that are internal to the code and only meaningful to the

If the interface uses a logical order that helps the user ("set the frammis
before choosing a widget"), then you should change the doc to match the
interface. If the interface order is random or not meaningful to the user,
then the programmer should change the interface to match your doc. :-)

Well, that's a wonderful idea. But it doesn't always fly. I use Netscape 7.1 as my mail and news client. The news groups are listed in the navigation pane in the sequence I subscribed to them. I could probably go digging in the registry or in some jsp file somewhere and change them to alphabetical order, but clearly that's not something you want to encourage users to do.

My point is that sometimes sequences just happen--as a result of an ill-considered architectural decision made early in the design process; and changing that logic to permit the developer or the tech writer to apply a more sensible sequencing rule may be fairly difficult as you get into the later stages of coding a product.


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