FAQs in User Guides

Subject: FAQs in User Guides
From: "Chuck Martin" <twriter -at- mindspring -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 15:22:32 -0800

I just encountered a question that I have never had asked before, nor seen
it dealt with here or elsewhere: Should a FAQ page be a part of a User
Guide?

Background: doing a contract for a 1.1 version, where the 1.0 version had
only HTML-based Help (and not task-oriented). Documentation goals for 1.1:
add content for 1.1 features, rewrite 1.0 content, create User Guide that
will be distributed as .PDF. The current online Help system had a FAQ page,
which is a common convention for web-based user assistance.

I can probably come up with pros and cons for both a "yes" and a "no"
answer. Just because I've never seen a FAQ page in a manual or put one in
myself doesn't mean that there shouldn't be one (although I've seen and
developed plenty of troubleshooting sections). I'm inclined a bit toward the
"no" side, thinking that the FAQs should be answered in the manual contect,
and of course be well indexed so they answers can be easily found. Thoughts?
Thanks much in advance.

P.S. If you want to cc: me directly with an answer, please use the email
address in my signature. I just switched ISPs and haven't switched all my
mailing list information yet.

--
--
"[Programmers] cannot successfully be asked to design for users
because...inevitably, they will make judgments based on the
difficulty of coding and not on the user's real needs."
- Alan Cooper
"About Face: The Essentials of User Interface Design"

Chuck Martin
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net www.writeforyou.com



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**NEW DATE/LOCATION!** January 16-17, 2001, New York, NY.
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