Re: Problems Documenting An Application

Subject: Re: Problems Documenting An Application
From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: pbw3172 -at- yahoo -dot- com, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Feb 2000 12:01:30 -0800 (PST)

Screens and the screens that are spawned from screens
can be arranged in an outline form.

I did a 400+ page user manual that was very much
screen driven; somewhere in the area of 200+ screens.

Since it was a windows application, I started with the
first item on the screen menu (e.g., File, Edit, Go,
Communicator, Help)

(can you tell I'm looking at Netscape?)

It went something like this:

1.0 xxxx

1.1) Select File -> New -> Navigator
The "BadaBada" screen is displayed.
<instruction and content>

1.2) Select File -> New -> Message
The "Yabadaba" screen is displayed
<instruction and content>

1.3) Select File -> New -> Blank Page
The "WeeDoggee!" screen is displayed
<instruction and content>

1.4) You get the picture

Obviously, this is a simplistic approach and I don't
have your application in front of me, but this might
be the first approach I'd take.

Maybe instead of organizing the screens by the order
they appear in the interface, you might consider
ordering them by their functionality. However, one
thing I always do is right in the beginning, explain
how to get to that screen all the way from the
"Primary" view of the application.

--- pbw3172 -at- yahoo -dot- com wrote:
> I have been tasked with documenting an entire
> application by myself. The
> client wants each screen as a separate work
> instruction with a data entry
> table for the user to refer to for field entries.
> My problem is that this application has SEVERAL
> screens and I don't know
> where to begin. I have started with the main menu,
> printing each screen
> out that falls under that one menu item. Then maybe
> I can get some type of
> order from there. I have noticed that several
> screens duplicate so this is
> causing problems as well. I figured that if I
> divided the manual up by
> task (screens) based on the main menu options, it
> would be easier to
> document.

John Posada, Merck Research Laboratories
Sr Technical Writer, WinHelp and html
(work) john_posada -at- merck -dot- com - 732-594-0873
(pers) jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com - 732-291-7811
"When in trouble, when in doubt, run in circles, scream and shout."
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