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Subject:Re: orientation in description From:cjcbrown -at- comcast -dot- net To:Kevin McLauchlan <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> Date:Mon, 21 Jun 2010 16:30:00 +0000 (UTC)
When we documented equipment in a standard rack in a server room, we always had to include where the reader was facing.
Otherwise there was room for confusion.Â Our equipment had interesting things on both panels, some of which had unique names, and it seemed the readers were often facing the front when needing to be facing the back, and vice versa.
We also had to have one-kernel sentences. (subject, verb, object). People did not read complex sentences well.
E.g., "In normal operation, each power supply shows a green LED for proper function. "
"The LED is on the rear panel in the upper right corner as you're facing the rear panel."
Don't know about there being a "default understanding" of a the person looking at it straight ahead.
Makes sense, though, maybe that's why they had to make up "stage right" and "stage left".
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kevin McLauchlan" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Sent: Monday, June 21, 2010 9:10:02 AM GMT -08:00 US/Canada Pacific
Subject: orientation in description
We sell an encryption appliance that is meant to live in a standard equipment rack in a server room.
In the maintenance section, I had this sentence, which must have seemed ok when I originally wrote it, but which now seems fishy.
"In normal operation , each power supply (back panel right corner, as you face the rear of the appliance) shows a green LED, indicating proper function."
I'm sure it can be critiqued for other reasons (go ahead...) but I'm interested in how best to refer to the orientation and location of parts on a piece of equipment.
Is it "standard" to locate stuff (like rooms and features of a house, or parts of an appliance) by referring to the overall item (equipment, building, etc.) as though the reader is facing it front on? ÂOr should it matter, as long as you specify the point-of-view in the current situation?
In this case, I'm referring to basically exterior orientation and location. This is not the kind of huge and/or intricate equipment where you need a 3D co-ordinate system to guide a mechanic/tech into the bowels of the beast. Just a couple of power supplies and a trio of fans that are externally accessible and are hot-swappable. Â And loud... Â Â Â:-)
Anyway, my current deadlines are not frantically critical, so apparently I'm allowing myself the luxury of second-guessing myself.
Senior Technical Writer
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