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----- Original Message -----
From: "Steve Hudson" <cruddy -at- optushome -dot- com -dot- au>
> Much ROFLing at a beautiful style, but still, I must protest heartily at
> following claims:
> > The reason most of us read the manual
> is to look productive when the big bosses walk past OR sound authorative
> when talking about anything remotely connected with the book. Otherwise we
> consult the online help... <snicker>
that was somebody else, I don't recognize the comment
> > Didn't Dante put vague procedure writers in the second or third circle
> The second so as to misdirect the rest of the way into going deeper as a
> good thing. Mind you, the MS writers (poor Paul) are consigned to the 9th
> level, being close to the dark one himself - but we digress.
> > Be creatively redundant. Remember the reader
> most likely has their mind on several other things while they are reading
> your manual.
> Ding ding ding ding ding. Disagree. Hyperlinks (cross-references or
> you care) baby, and nothing else. When said function gets updated, are you
> going to visit ONE place, or try and remember which 10? Or was it 11?
Aren't you using some sort of content manager and full text index to track
Don't your documents have some sort of metastructure for the writer that is
not available to the reader?
In any case that's just whining to me.
> Let alone experienced users can avoid the x-ref if they know it
> leaving them with the gritty bits. Encapsulate and link.
> Steve Hudson - Word Heretic, Sydney, Australia
The purpose of documentation is to keep the users happy so they continue to
upgrade and evangelize for your product, so you can keep eating.
Maybe the docs should be web pages, with a level of detail cookie that
controls the experience for the user. Can a cookie be set from a downloaded
or Cd-based web page? I know jscript can do it. I'm wondering if the browser
allows it and will give the cookie back to the next page in the
Now's a great time to buy RoboHelp! You'll get SnagIt screen capture
software and a $200 onsite training voucher FREE when you buy RoboHelp
Office or RoboHelp Enterprise. Hurry, this offer expires February 28, 2002. www.ehelp.com/techwr
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