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I agree with Kathleen and Grant in this instance. If you think users are mostly going to use ZIP codes, write the procedure based on that. Then add a tip/note to the effect of "If you have set up geographic regions, you can use them to auto-populate the fields. The auto-complete options work the same way as ZIP codes. See 'Setting up geographic regions' for more information. You can also select neither and enter each field manually."
A couple bonus tech writer tips ;-)
* In general, use present tense, active voice. When users perform a step, the action is happening in the present tense for them, not in the future. Type the name, press enter, a window appears, Trash Flow populates... I generally do a global search for "will".
* Avoid words like "simply," "just," and the like. If users are struggling with something -- which might not even be their fault -- that can feel condescending. Our intent is to reassure them that this thing isn't difficult, but it may not feel like that if they don't find it obvious.
Both of those tips eliminate extra words, which helps tighten your prose and lighten the page of text.
From: techwr-l-bounces+sharon -dot- metzger=gmail -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+sharon -dot- metzger=gmail -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Joe Weinmunson
Sent: Friday, February 3, 2017 1:19 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Help topic question
This might be a beginner's question, but while I've done plenty of academic writing I never received any formal training in tech writing. I'm supposed to be updating the topics in this Help file to be in a numbered list format where feasible. You can see the file in progress at http://roleplayhistory.com/trashflow/AddCustomer.pdf
I'm not sure of the best way to handle "if . . . then" situations. There are three ways a user could proceed in filling out part of the address; two are common, one is not. Can anyone point me in the direction of some advice on how to proceed? Any help appreciated.
âWhat you read when you donât have to determines what you will be when you canât help it.â
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