Documentation & Books

Judy Perry jperryl at ecs.fullerton.edu
Wed Jul 7 12:17:40 CDT 2004


Interesting post, Wolfgang!


> Judy!
> They need, first of all an OVERVIEW of all this incomprehensible
> written details. They are looking for fast capture of the content -
> with one view. The most important thing for a right brainer is to know
> the content BEFORE he starts learning. Therefore they need an Index, to
> get this overview. If they dont get it and must learn from the
> documentation, they will be frustrated immediately. But we all have
> learned very early in our childhood: Avoid frustrations! If they cant
> avoid it or escape of all that frustrations, they will learn to hate
> rev. (As I have learned, hence I know what I m talking about), Because
> I m NOT a natural leftbrained programmer.

I was about to say "ditto" but I'm a weird hybrid: mostly the latter, but
a touch of the former, likely a result of the four or five years I spent
flunking out of physics.

> Apple got this brainfreindly thing with first Mac OS 6.x, and than with
> HC. An some HC Dokumentation have been instinctivly written
> brainfriendly too. That was the great succes of HC in the market of
> (more rightbrain) Mac Users but newbies to programming. An great
> brainfriendly authoring tool, not from Apple, was mtropolis.

--Indeed!  When you go back and look at their interactive tours/overviews
(how to use the machine/mouse, tour of HC), they are just awesome!  A
perfect blend of interactivity, whimsy (which I think serves to set people
at ease) and media elements that, even when not strictly necessary to
convey some given concept, still are not overpoweringly 'multimedia for
multimedia's sake' (remember the shutters on the windows and the birds
flying away?  the fish swimming in the goldfish bowl?).

> If you have a lot of doubts about this brain matters, which are not
> from me, thats common knowledge in the brain science, maybee you
> believe more in the University of Cambridge:

--No doubts here, this is all well documented in the field of cognitive
psychology.

> Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in
> waht
> oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the
> frist and
> lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae.
>
> The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm.
> Tihs is
> bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the
> wrod as a
> wlohe.
> Amzanig huh?

--Indeed, we first learn to read letter by letter and then move on into
"chunking" things and engaging in pattern-recognition.  There are all
sorts of variations on the above, including  one in I think Robin
Williams' "The Mac is not a Typewriter" in which she only gives
filled-in box shapes for each letter in three well-known English sayings
(that is, a tall, skinny box for letters like "l" and a tall, wide box for
letters like "M" and "W"; short skinny boxes for "i", descender boxes for
"j", "q", "y" etc.) that I use in my own class to demonstrate this
principle (why it's generally not a good idea to use monospace fonts).
The students are able to decipher the sayings because the presentation
gives us an outline of the words.  Really fascinating stuff.

> this works in nearly all languages (aslo acuh in desucth)

--I'm guessing it wouldn't work in word-character languages like Chinese,
though...

> Because of another project i have not much time at the moment, but if a
> lot of people are realy interested how my idea of a brainfriendly
> documentation could look like, I can do a small simple example.
> my 2 cents

--That would be neat to see!

Judy



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