Re: Task-based vs. descriptive online help? (quasi-summary)

Subject: Re: Task-based vs. descriptive online help? (quasi-summary)
From: edunn -at- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 15:01:44 -0500

>>"This is the Name field. The Name field is where
>>the Name goes!" But I have to admit, the Name
>>field isn't a fair example
>>for me to use.
>>the self-evident stuff goes, the actually
>>helpful stuff stays.

But is the NAME field such a bad example? All I see is an example of bad help
writing. The NAME of what? My name, the clients name, the application name, or
maybe something else?
The other big problem is which stuff is self-evident? and to whom? I would
rather ask for help and find that I had missed something obvious than get
frustrated looking for help that is not there. If you document one field I think
you should make an effort to document them all. If I look for something that you
have not documented because you thought it was self-evident, don't find it but
find everything else is documented, I can only come to the inclusion that you
made a sloppy effort at documentation and missed something or that you are
indirectly insulting me by saying I should know better. The fields (or any other
function or component) may be obvious to you, but never assume the knowledge
level, competence, or state of mind of your user is such that it is self-evident
to them.

Eric L. Dunn


Develop HTML-Based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 ($100 STC Discount)
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IPCC 01, the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference,
October 24-27, 2001 at historic La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

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