Re: documentation usability

On Wed, Jun 27, 2001 at 12:57:16PM +0800, Malcolm Tredinnick wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 26, 2001 at 09:39:41PM -0600, John Fleck wrote:
> > (My personal favorite - "You need to create modules short enough to
> > reduce scrolling or page-turning to an absolute minimum. Your ultimate
> > aim is to eliminate scrolling or page turning completely for each
> > individual module of information." He's absolutely right, and this
> > suggests some docs I need to work on....)
> Which sort of proves that one person's usability is another person's pet
> peeve. :-)
> Documentation files that are forever requiring me to hit the "next" link
> because they only contain ten lines or less of text are something I find
> very annoying. It's easy to hit <Space> to scroll down a page in the
> documentation, but it takes longer to either find the mouse and hit the
> next link or (in something like lynx) move with the keyboard to the
> right link.

The problem is that we often write these thinking people read them in
some sort of linear fashion. If they are to really be usable, folks
will more often use the index and table of contents to hunt down a
specific chunk of information. "How do I.... ?" Pat's map metaphor is
a good one. You usually end up folding the road map to show the bit
you're on.

John Fleck
jfleck inkstain net (h),

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