RE: Rewriting and Streamlining

Subject: RE: Rewriting and Streamlining
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 11:14:13 -0500

Geri,

You've got great source material, so keep it handy. I'd suggest you set it
aside for a bit, while you use the software itself to create an outline of
what the software does. Then prioritize it, maybe by which modules are used
most frequently to least frequently, or from simplest to most complex,
whatever makes the most sense for your users. Then figure out what
procedures need to be explained. Then fill in the blanks with your source
material whatever you have that's new and different.

Your outline will immediately help you streamline, as well as focus on what
needs to be done first. I usually find that I need to provide a bit of
context, then procedures. Then figure out how to lay out it for maximum
readability. Don't forget a good index and well organized TOC.

YMMV, hope this helps a bit.

Connie P. Giordano
Senior Technical Writer
Advisor Technology Services
A Fidelity Investments Company
704-330-2069 (w)
704-330-2350 (f)
704-957-8450 (c)
connie -dot- giordano -at- fmr -dot- com <mailto:connie -dot- giordano -at- fmr -dot- com>

"I am always doing that which I can not do, in order that I may learn how to
do it." - Pablo Picasso


-----Original Message-----
From: Geri Lou Ciotoli [mailto:GCIOTOLI -at- ECS-INC -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, March 01, 2002 11:06 AM
To: TECHWR-L
Subject: Rewriting and Streamlining


Good morning all;:

I have been assigned the task of rewriting and streamlining an existing
manual set (of approx 6000 pages) and I'm having trouble figuring out how to
begin. As I'm looking at these manuals, it would be easy to just start
editing which would only "reword" the existing manuals; that's not what I
want to do. What I need to do is really streamline and incorporate
procedural step by step instructions. The manuals are currently
informational type manuals of an intro, screen and the screen's field
definitions (of course with informational and conceptual info as well). The
manuals follow the software from program to program (so you end up having to
look back a few pages to figure out how to get to a program within a
program). These manuals are useful if you read the manual from front cover
to last page. Users don't use the manuals that way. I need to rewrite
these manuals to be more procedural and useful to the users.

Can any of you offer suggestions on where to begin? I'm thinking of just
setting aside the manual and work completely from the software .. but I
think that might be throwing away valuable information and creating more
work for myself.

I'm on digest so please, cc: me at gciotoli -at- ecs-inc -dot- com

Thanks.
Geri Lou Ciotoli
Enterprise Computer Systems, Inc.


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