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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
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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"?

Yes.

  • 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
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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/

  • 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

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