RE: Usable Specs?

Subject: RE: Usable Specs?
From: Bill Burns <BillDB -at- ILE -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 1999 11:09:04 -0600

Tony Markatos writes:

> I have read that software requirements specs are a primary input to
> technical writing efforts. Have you ever received specs (from the
> analysis
> and/or design folks) that significantly help you create end- user-focused
> documentation?
Yep. This is often my best and only form of developer input.

> I have seen many a spec that Einstein could not make
> heads-or-tails of.
You are not alone.

> NOTE: From an academic perspective, software requirements specs ARE
> supposed to be task oriented and discuss the WHAT.
From an academic perspective based on what discipline? Tech comm? Software
And at what level do specs need to be task based? We often see one spec for
the code and one for the UI. One describes how the software works behind the
UI. We don't use this much. The other describes each feature of the UI.
(Click this, and that happens.) As far as determining a series of actions
that have to take place to complete a task, that's my job. I wouldn't expect
to see that level of detail in a UI spec.

So I guess I wouldn't expect a UI spec to be task oriented. I would expect
it to explain how the UI works, not how the user interacts with it to
accomplish a task.

Bill Burns - Eccentric Technology Consultant
International Communications Design & Development
billdb -at- ile -dot- com
Y2K Complacent

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