Re: User documentation: tip sheets

Subject: Re: User documentation: tip sheets
From: Beverly Parks <bparks -at- HUACHUCA-EMH1 -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 13:20:58 MST

> Peggy Thompson wrote:
>> We think procedures commonly performed by most users should be
>> in the user guide and that tip sheets should be reserved for
>> procedures performed uncommonly or only by a small group of
>> users.

David Demyan replied:
> I would recommend the opposite approach in most cases: the user's
> guide gives ALL the details for all users; the quick reference cards
> give a subset of information from the guide -- the most commonly
> used information needed by most readers (for a quick reference when
> the user is unlikely to want to wade through all of the details in
> the guive).

Initially, I had the same reaction to Peggy's comment that
David had. But then the more I thought about it, the more I
understood Peggy's reasoning. I want to take a whirl at
explaining it.

The most commonly performed procedures will be quickly memorized
and mastered through repetition. Tip sheets on those will just as
quickly become unnecessary. However, tip sheets for the less
common or more complex procedures will be used more throughout
the life of the product.

Example: I use GreatApp on a daily basis and become a whiz at
most of its functions. But there's a certain report that I have
to generate quarterly that I always seem to have to look up in
the users guide how to do it. Darn it, I just don't do it often
enough to remember the steps each time. What I may do as a user
after grudgingly looking it up two or three times, is make my
own little cheat sheet for it. But, (ahh!) if a little tip sheet
was supplied with the software for this infrequent operation,
wouldn't that make my life as a user a little easier?

You betcha.

=*= Beverly Parks =*= bparks -at- huachuca-emh1 -dot- army -dot- mil =*=
=*= "Unless otherwise stated, all comments are my own. =*=
=*= I am not representing my employer in any way." =*=

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