How Hell, I want to know Why First

As most apps tend to do, they headline their user procedures with “How to…” captions, where most don’t explain their specific purpose. I prefer to see a caption headline that explains why I need to do something. In a caption’s detail instructions, it’s there that tells me how to satisfy its objective.

As I mentioned in “The Other Half” blog: user documentation parallels as to what the technical design allows. In my opinion, most app sources treat user documentation as bastard-cousins. They write it once which is their meek attempts to parallel their first apps’ technical designs functional attributes. Then when future design changes are made, they don’t bother to change the user documentation to stay parallel.

Even when user documentation is provided, they take shortcuts by combining multiple procedures as one massive procedure, with a complex header captions that contain multiple verbs and multiple noun descriptors. Its detailed instructions for users to execute, are compounded as well, which is like reading a: who-done-it mystery novel.

Here are several poor header captions I’ve been issued from various source apps I have to use:
• How to Keep WordPress from Forgetting You with Always Remember Me Change My Address.
• How to Add Front-End Login Pages and Widgets in WordPress.
• How to use Facebook Lists for better Organization, Privacy and Security.
• How to Capture More Email Leads With Social Media Contests.

When reading the four how to captions above, would you know exactly why you need to perform each? I say “exactly,” as you shouldn’t have to guess as to why.
Let’s do a how to exercise function
I’m your boss and our office is located in Raleigh, NC. Interstate I-40 passes through Raleigh eastward 130 miles to Wilmington NC, which abuts at the Atlantic coastline. From Raleigh, I-40 extends westward 2,424 miles, and ends up in Barstow, California, which is just east of Los Angeles. Between Raleigh and Barstow, I-40 passes through other major cities such as: Durham North Carolina; Nashville and Memphis Tennessee; Little Rock, Arkansas; Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; Amarillo, Texas; and Albuquerque, New Mexico.

As your boss, I approach with a box, and hand it to you. I then say, “Take this box and put it in your shiny red car and get on I-40 and head west.” At this point, I did tell you “how to,” did I not?

If I were to document this as a written procedure, its header caption would read as: “How To Put a Box in Your Shiny Red Car, Get On I-40 And Head West.”

While you hold the box and before you dart off to your car, would you not ask me, where am I going, and what’s the purpose of delivering this box? If your destination is Durham, you know you’d be back in a several hours. If your destination is Barstow California, then besides that box, you’d probably would need to pack a suitcase to include some underwear for your three-day car trip west.

What follows below is another poorly described caption header created by Pinterest.
(caption) To Edit Or Delete A Pin

When the “or” word is included in a caption header as the above caption conveys, in its detail steps to perform, we users are going to have a problem executing easily, its edit and delete intertwined (verb) actions functions by its one procedure.

From reading further in their application, as to what this is really about, it’s about pictorial images and websites. You’d never know this by this caption header as described that’s more enamored with their “pin” term.

Here’s the above Pinterest’s caption detail procedure:
1. Hover over the Pin you want to edit and click the pencil button.
2. Edit the Pin description or website, or pick a new board.
3. Click Save Changes when you’re done.
4. Or click Delete Pin if you want to get rid of it—you can’t undo this, so be careful!

Notice in step 2, they mention “a new board.” I interpreted this to mean, move images and web sites from one board to another board.

I rewrote the above one caption header as six different caption headers to include their specific procedures to perform. As to the edit and delete terms, I prefer to use change and remove instead, in my procedures.

(caption-1) REMOVE A FEATURED IMAGE FROM A BOARD
1.) To remove a featured image, scroll to the specific board as to where the image is located.
…………A.) On the board, hover over its pinned image.
………………….a.) A drop-down screen appears.
2.) Scroll into the drop-down screen to the ‘Delete Pin’ Button and click to select.
…………A. The image has been removed.

(caption-2) REMOVE A FEATURED WEB SITE FROM A BOARD
1.) To remove a featured web site, scroll to the specific board as to where the web site is located.
…………A.) On the board, hover over its pinned web site.
………………….a.) A drop-down screen appears.
2.) Scroll into the drop-down screen to the ‘Delete Pin’ Button and click to select.
…………A.) The web site has been removed.

(caption-3) CHANGE A FEATURED IMAGE’S NAME
1.) To change a featured image’s description, scroll to the specific board as to where the image is located.
…………A.) On the board, hover over the pinned image.
………………….a.) A drop-down screen appears.
2.) Scroll into the drop-down screen to the pencil-symbol Button and click to select.
…………A.) A drop-down screen appears.
3.) In the drop-down screen, scroll to ‘Pin description’ and click to select.
…………A.) The ‘Pin Description’ Screen appears.
4.) In the Pin Description Screen, enter the new description name.
…………A.) When done, scroll to the ‘Save Changes’ Button and click.

(caption-4) CHANGE A FEATURED WEB SITE’S NAME
1.) To change a featured web site name, scroll to the specific board as to where the item is located.
…………A.) On the board, hover over the pinned item.
………………….a.) A drop-down screen appears.
2.) Scroll into the drop-down screen to the pencil-symbol Button and click.
…………A.) A drop-down screen appears.
3.) In the drop-down screen, scroll to ‘Website Name’ and click to select.
…………A.) The ‘Website Name’ Screen appears.
4.) In the Website Name Screen, enter the new description name.
…………A.) When done, scroll to the ‘Save Changes’ Button and click.

(caption-5) MOVE A FEATURED IMAGE FROM ONE BOARD TO ANOTHER BOARD
1.) To move a featured image to another board, scroll to the specific board as to where the image is located.
…………A.) On the board, hover over the pinned image.
………………….a.) A drop-down screen appears.
2.) Scroll into the drop-down screen to the pencil-symbol Button and click to select.
…………A.) A drop-down screen appears.
3.) In the drop-down screen, scroll to the new board the image is to be pinned to and click to select.
…………A.) The image has been moved to the second board.

(caption-6) MOVE A FEATURED WEB SITE FROM ONE BOARD TO ANOTHER BOARD
1.) To move a featured web site to another board, scroll to the specific board as to where the web site is located.
…………A.) On the board, hover over the pinned web site.
………………….a.) A drop-down screen appears.
2.) Scroll into the drop-down screen to the pencil-symbol Button and click to select.
…………A.) A drop-down screen appears.
3.) In the drop-down screen, scroll to the new board the web site is to be pinned to and click to select.
…………A.) The web site has been moved to the second board.

When reading my six captions above, do all not explain why? Also note, and this is important, each of my captions includes a single subject and a single verb to satisfy its single objective’s purpose. And their respective detail steps to perform, satisfies their respective captions’ objectives with straight forward associated procedure steps which are much easier to accomplish than Pinterest’s one complicated multiple-function procedure to perform.

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lennyrats@hotmail.com

30-year employment in computer systems design field of which my last 23 years was with Caterpillar Inc. an international corporation. Registered as a Certified Computer Professional (CCP). My registration number is 010592. Have painted in watercolor for over 40 years. Won art awards in Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Florida and North Carolina. Self- Published author. Book’s name is ACCIDENTAL AMBASSADOR, my naval memoir during the Korean War. Working on my second book which will be on computer application design. Name for this book is: IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S THEM!