Re: Business issues, documentation and editors

Subject: Re: Business issues, documentation and editors
From: Steven Brown <stevenabrown -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 13:37:21 -0800 (PST)

Jean raises an excellent point about the importance of
incorporating the "why" into the "how."

I'm struggling with this task right now as I update
our online help for a new release. Product managers
want me to incorporate the "why's" so that our
customers maximize their use of our application, but
technical writers generally subscribe to the premise
that most users refer to documentation and online help
only when they need to know *how* to do something. If
we incorporate the "why's," do we risk overwhelming

What ideas do you have for incorporating the "why's"
without distracting the user from the task at hand,
especially in a very modular, online help environment?
A few random thoughts:

- In online help, add a link at the top of topics
titled, "why to use this feature," or "use this
feature to simplify your workflow," or "making the
most of Product_Name."

- Including the "why" into the introductory paragraph.

- For every feature/procedure, write a parallel topic
that explains why or how it could be used. In online
help, provide a link between each topic.

Othere ideas?

Steven Brown
Senior Technical Writer

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Business issues, documentation and editors: From: Jean Weber

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