RE: What do you assume as basic audience vocabulary?

Subject: RE: What do you assume as basic audience vocabulary?
From: Kathy Frost <KFrost -at- Partnerware -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 09:09:43 -0600

A personal comment on this subject...

Technical manuals seem notorious for forgetting this, but I try to remember
that most people who use the index are new to the software. I use a lot of
See references with anything I think the user might call something,
including what other companies call it. If I used "Initialize Disk" while
other companies used "Format Disk," I would include both in the index
knowing that users who have used other applications will know it by that
name. The idea of the index is to get people to the information. I don't
use automatically generated indexes because they don't take into account the

I also continue old entries, with a See Also reference, when the name of of
a module, control, or action has changed in a new release. This way, former
users can still find the information and learn the new name at the same
time. (One company had changed the name of the menu item in their software
but left the old help topic with the old name. It was a nightmare trying to
find the new location of the item. There is a lot of difference between
"Related Topic Link" and "Design-Time Control" when you don't know what
you're looking for.)

Kathleen Frost
Senior Technical Writer
Partnerware, Inc.
Austin, TX 78701
kfrost -at- partnerware -dot- com

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