Hi Framers,

In general if your heading levels descend below three or four in user 
documentation, you need to take a step back, analyze, and rebalance.  Nothing 
new here, just the old axiom "be nice to your user..."   You can apply the same 
principle to the navigation over enterprise websites. 

If you find yourself descending past three or four, redefine your level 1 heads 
(perhaps a level 1 head gets removed and two level 2s beneath it promoted). Do 
what makes sense. Rebalance it.  If you find yourself descending past four, 
five, or six you might have a guide hiding within a guide.  Break it out.  

An outline or book structure is like a decision tree or even a binary tree.  
The more levels you force me to descend, the higher my cost in 'look-up' 
latency, the harder it is for me to recall the context or navigate back to the 
heading, and the more painfully disoriented I become.  If disorientation is a 
feature or adding levels is a requirement for your particular documentation 
(legal writing, city electrical codes, cell phone billing statements, 
philisophical treatise), then you are okay in descending as many levels as 
needed, just remember to index or enumerate 'said' headings adequately so folks 
can cite them at a later time from equally disorienting prose. 

Another version of "be nice to your user" is "don't Hegel your audience" 
(although even Hegel had a tendency to articulate or 'piece' general concepts 
into threes).




From: framers-bounces at lists.frameusers.com on behalf of syed.hos...@aeris.net
Sent: Wed 7/15/2009 11:03 AM
To: Evanth, Henrik; framers at lists.frameusers.com
Subject: RE: Heading levels in a UG

I use a maximum of 4 ... anything more, and the heading numbering scheme
gets quite clumsy and distracts from the content.


-----Original Message-----
From: framers-boun...@lists.frameusers.com
[mailto:framers-bounces at lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Evanth,
Sent: Wednesday, July 15, 2009 12:25 AM
To: framers at lists.frameusers.com
Subject: OT: Heading levels in a UG

Hi All

I have an off-topic question that may or may not interest you.

We are having a discussion at the office regarding the maximum levels of
heading that a User guide/User manual can/should contain. Do you know of
any best practice rules that define how deep a publication should/could
be. Personally I think that 6 levels is too deep for a user, but that is
just a personal preference that I cannot back up with "evidence".

Heading 1
   Heading 2
      Heading 3
         Heading 4
            Heading 5
               Heading 6

Insights, comments or instructions are highly appreciated.

Best Regards

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