I'm an engineer. My doc team has been using step-action tables to create user-facing documentation for some software that I've built recently. I think these tables are awesome, but I keep seeing them prefixed with a sentence of the form:

The following step-action table contains the procedure for kerfumbulating the fooziewhatsits:

My question is: Should the term "step-action table" just be "table"?

  • It may depend who the sentence is addressed to. If you're writing to other software engineers, call it what you link; but, if - as you imply - this is documentation for the user, and the user is the general public, then do not use technical terms. I have never heard of a 'step-action table' despite working with computers since the days of DOS. – TrevorD May 24 '16 at 23:18
  • You have an action plan with steps. Step One, Step Two. That is not step-action table. It's better to use Step/Action Table. In my opinion. And it's not a computer term. It's a "change management" "thing". Actually: action step table is really the meaning. – Lambie May 25 '16 at 0:04

I'm a software engineer. I'm not clear on what you mean by "step-action table". I can infer it's definition from context, usage, and the definition of the component words. However, I think this places it clearly within the realm of jargon.

My question is: Should the term "step-action table" just be "table"?


| improve this answer | |
  • No, they are the steps you take in your action plan. Your /action step table/ is the way to adjectivize it. – Lambie May 25 '16 at 0:11

The term "Step/Action Table" is part of the Information Mapping way of presenting information. It provides a structure for stepping users of information through a process. It also serves as a structure to present information that can't/shouldn't be listed in bullet or numbered form - for different reasons. So the Title of the table can be "Step/Action" if you are using the Information Mapping format. Or just "Table". Whichever you want. http://www.informationmapping.com/en/

| improve this answer | |
  • informationmapping.app.box.com/s/… – Ann Nov 14 '16 at 22:14
  • All I see in the link in your answer is what looks like a home page for a company. – Katherine Lockwood Nov 14 '16 at 22:16
  • Thanks Ann for the example in your comment link. That's exactly the structure I'm describing. I think it also reinforces Nathan's answer of "Yes" however, since the audience here is fooziewhatsit kerfumbulators and not documentation professionals. – Eric Hirst Nov 14 '16 at 23:56

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.