Originally posted on Vox 14 September, 2006
There was an interesting topic raised at 12 September's STC general meeting by one of the presenters. He asked the members of the audience whether they thought a one-step procedure should be bulleted, and under what circumstances. The options were:
- Yes, with a bullet symbol
- Yes, with a number
I believe most of us voted "yes, with a bullet symbol", but he said he firmly believed that all steps, even single ones, should be bullet with numbers. I will paraphrase his rationale. Most people, when confronted with several procedures, will read carefully to begin with, but as the list of procedures go on, they will skim the instructions and look for numbers as cues to steps. Also, when the person reading the instructions does not speak english as his or her first language, he or she may not realize that a an unnumbered sentence, beginning with a verb, is a cue to a step. Therefore, all steps should be numbered.
I'd never thought of either of those scenarios before. Part of me wants to agree with him, but part of me agrees with the response I received from a co-worker after I e-mailed this anecdote to the other tech. writers in our office. Her comback was: Interesting, but then I'd be looking for #2...Does anyone else have any thoughts about this?