TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
I work for a software company, and we're looking into reconstructing our
current documentation. Currently, we put the same information in our user
manual as our online Help. Our manual is basically a reference manual with
very little task/examples. It's quite extensive and overwhelming, and gets
larger with each new release. To eliminate some weight of the manual and
work effort, we're looking into creating a true "user manual" or
task-oriented manual (with little reference), and then put the reference
material in our online Help (such as description of windows, options, and so
I've researched the web for task-oriented manuals; however, I haven't really
found anything that's much different than what we produce. Any sites I can
visit to get an idea how to construct a true task-oriented manual? Also,
I've tried to find any documentation to support our idea to put the
reference info in Help only. Basically, I want to know what kind of topics,
such as task-oriented topics or reference topics, etc., users prefer when
using online Help. I haven't really found much. Any sites I can visit for
more on this?