PRACTICE

 

Write exercises as a series of numbered procedural steps. Keep them short. Do not put more than one action in a step.

Start at the beginning. Donít confuse readers by starting in the middle. Do not waste their time with unnecessary set-up steps. Keep your procedures focused on the task at hand.

Keep it simple. Focus on a single method of using the interface. Use menus for beginners; toolbars for advanced users.

Give instructions in the command form, such as "Draw," or "Select." Capitalize commands to match UI capitalizations.

Write steps in order. Within each step, list all the actions needed to complete a command. Match word order to the sequence of actions. Start a new step when the action shifts to a different part of the interface.

Delete unnecessary words, such as the preposition "on" in "Click on". Click works just as well and is simpler. Put asides into sidebars and explanations into concept descriptions. Do not put anything extra into steps.

Tell the user what to expect. Use graphics to show results. Show everything new and unfamiliar. Use captions to confirm the results you describe in the text.

Stop at the end. Keep the procedure focused on the task at hand. Users resent having their time wasted by unnecessary procedures. If itís not essential, cut it.

 

 

Check List

  • Avoid unnecessary set-up steps . They waste the userís time.
  • Start at the beginning. Users blame themselves if they donít know how you got there.
  • Keep it simple. Focus on a single method of using the interface.
  • Use the command form.
  • Do not skip any steps. Users hate getting lost.
  • Write steps in order. Use a new step when the action moves away.
  • Match word order to the sequence of user actions . Use the format "<UI location>, <user action> to <result>."
  • Simplify. Delete unnecessary words. Do not put anything extra into steps.
  • Illustrate steps that require choices or produce results. Make sure the user always knows what to do or expect.
  • Stop at the end. Keep the procedure focused on the task at hand.