Re: Help on Procedure Writing

Subject: Re: Help on Procedure Writing
From: Iggy <iggy_1996dp -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 5 Dec 2001 07:27:29 -0800 (PST)

It depends.

User manuals usually consist of procedures and
pertinent background/overview information. Be as
specific as possible (task-wise) and avoid a lot of
fluff. The procedures should take the reader from
start to finish for each task, not educate them on
everything and anything they can do. The latter
information is best reserved for an accompanying guide
- perhaps at the admin level - explaining the
architecture and possibilities of your product.

Online help - what kind? Context-sensitive,
stand-alone, what's this style? Again, and
specifically for help, you want to only explain that
which the user needs help with and nothing else
(though links to more related information are
helpful). So if it's "what do I put in this field" you
tell them what goes in there and how. If it's "what
does this button do" then you matter-of-fact-ly
describe what it does and when to use it. If it's
"what the heck is this screen doing here/asking for,
or why is it here" then you feed them that info.

> I am in need of information on the following topics:
> Writing User Manuals
> Writing Online Help
> By this I mean the the language, style and format to
> be used in this
> kind of procedure writing. My company does not
> require me to work with
> the different help technologies as of yet. At
> present I am concerned
> basically with the language part of it.

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Help on Procedure Writing: From: AnilaA

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