RE: Looking for the Bingo (was Get to the point?)

Subject: RE: Looking for the Bingo (was Get to the point?)
From: "Susan Ahrenhold" <sahrenhold -at- winspc -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Sep 2000 09:48:04 -0400

I believe that you're right, Dan, but I don't think the fault is in the
medium (Winhelp). But there are plenty of other reasons for this to happen:

In many cases, we are writing purely online help -- there is no underlying
book, and I suspect that some of the information in the online help has
never been subjected to the kind of organizational hair-pulling that a book

Our available information resources for research are focussed on the
structure of the product, and it's not unusual for the writer to not
understand the discipline that the program he is documenting supports. If
your SMEs and your func spec both contain no information about the
discipline you are working in, child, you're on your own. And that expertise
takes time to acquire. If you're hired in new, and given 6 weeks to create
the online help, guess where you are going to skimp? Right, the overview
topics that help the user to understand the underlying concepts on which the
product is based.

The tools we use to create Winhelp provide some really good tools for the
what I think of as an "abusive index." That's an index that looks like an
index, in alphabetical order, but that has never been scrutinized by a human
being for usefulness. So, terms in the title appear in the index, there are
no good cross-references, and no one has had time to fill out all the
related information.

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