Task-oriented manuals

Subject: Task-oriented manuals
From: Tara Bucheger <TBucheger -at- Winnebago -dot- com>
To: "Techwriting ListServ (E-mail)" <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Jan 2000 15:05:05 -0600

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?

Thanks, Tara

Tara Bucheger | Technical Writer | Sagebrush Corporation
608.779.4577 | ext. 5021 | TBucheger -at- winnebago -dot- com

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