Target of minimalism: the right information, in the right place and at the right time.

Minimalism as a checklist:

  • Reduce passive voice.
  • Be concise.
  • Write task-oriented procedures.
  • Say it once.

Nine principles that provide guidelines for developing minimalist-based documentation:

  1. Help users get started fast.
  2. Train users on real tasks.
  3. Allow for reading in any order by providing modular units of information.
  4. Exploit the user’s prior knowledge and experience.
  5. Coordinate the system they are trying to learn with the actual training material.
  6. Support error recognition and recovery.
  7. Use the situation to provide opportunities to learn about how the system works.
  8. Be developed using optimal training designs.
  9. Promote reasoning and improvising that increases comprehension, retention, and active involvement in the learning process.


  • Emphasize experimentation rather than exhaustive task-oriented step-by-step procedures or system-oriented descriptions of interface objects.
  • Encourage exploration and minimize the time-spent reading.
  • Point out potential problems and suggest ways to avoid them.
  • Provide more instructionally supportive information where necessary to assist in user learning.