Re: Writing simple procedures

Subject: Re: Writing simple procedures
From: Robert Plamondon <robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 6 May 1995 22:22:15 PDT

>1. Move the cursor to the XXX toolbox.
>2. Click on the YYY icon.


>1. Click on the YYY icon in the XXX toolbox.

>Is the first form too obvious? It seems so to me, but then
>again, you want to write these kinds of things to the lowest
>common denominator, right?

The only significant difference between the two versions is that
the one-step version assumes that the user knows that he has
to put the cursor over something before he can click on it. If the
user doesn't know this already, he can't even start your program,
let alone follow your procedures.

So, yes -- the first form is too obvious. "Clicking" doesn't
necessarily deserve to be a step by itself -- let alone two! Frankly,
the idea of taking every mouse click in every procedure and turning
into two numbered steps is more than I can easily bear.

Also, the phrase "lowest common denominator" is completely useless
when deciding what to write. The users are not amorphous drooling
morons; they're SPECIFIC drooling morons. Do some user testing.
If users try to pluck icons off the screen and eat them, you need
a different kind of documentation than if they don't. You may
find that they already know quite a bit, and you can procduce
something concise and direct.

-- Robert
Robert Plamondon * Writer * robert -at- plamondon -dot- com * (408) 321-8771
4271 North First Street, #106 * San Jose * California * 95134-1215
"Writing is like plumbing -- even people who know how to do it will
pay top dollar to keep their hands clean."

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