Reference - Do you use the correct symbols when documenting instructions?

Last updated by Lee Hawkins [SSW] over 1 year ago.See history

An important area to apply strict standards to is documenting instructions. The way in which instructions are worded and arranged is very important in helping the user understand the instructions. Therefore, the instructions should be minimalistic, clear and concise.

We often see documentation like: '...then you click on Select All Programs from the Start menu'. This is bad! You should keep it simple and always list the items in the order the user selects them.

Be sure you keep the operations clearly in the right order:

...then you click on All Apps from the Start menu

Figure: Bad example - Wrong order and too many words

Click Start, then All Apps, then Accessories, then Calculator.

Figure: Bad example - No visual cue is given for separate steps

Start - All Apps - Accessories - Calculator

Figure: Bad example - Dashes are easy to glance over

Start --> All Apps --> Accessories --> Calculator

Figure: Bad example - This is better but may be interpreted incorrectly

Start | All Apps | Accessories | Calculator

Figure: Good example - Makes it easy to follow

If you follow this rule, users won't be confused.

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