Thursday, March 3, 2011

Worst Technical Communication Ever

While looking into AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) for a project, I came across this section of the official AIML documentation. The section contained the following table (the version at the original site is bigger and more legible on high-resolution displays):

The Most Pointless Table in the World

Notice that the table details exactly two items and gives the same information on both of them. This information could have easily been given in a sentence with a compound subject. Furthermore, the average English speaker could probably read that hypothetical sentence faster than they could figure out the table formatting, much less comprehend the (redundant) information in the table. The technical communicator in my brain can't figure out whether to do a facepalm or a headdesk.