Newbie looking for help on user guides/manuals

Subject: Newbie looking for help on user guides/manuals
From: Alan Alda <alan4077alda -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 08:56:53 -0800 (PST)

Hi everyone,

I have joined a new job- my primary responsibility for
the near future is to create a user guide for our
company's product. The one we have currently is simply
an Adobe Acrobat file with bookmarks. We are getting
inclined to replace it with a guide created in
RoboHELP. However, I have no experience in technical
writing, specifically, writing user manuals.

I was wondering if I could get any pointers to the
different kinds of styles for writing user guides. For
instance, I have noticed that some user guides take
you through each task that the user might want to
perform, while others simply describe the UI
components and what can be done with these components.
So these might be two different styles of writing user
guides; I am sure there are more. Also, pointers to
what styles are more effective than others for a
web-client based product will be appreciated. Finally,
I was wondering where I can find some very good sample
user guides. I considered going through the user
guides of the Microsoft products I have installed on
my PC, but I am not sure whether this would be the
right approach.

I did try searching through the list's archives, but
was unable to find anything very relevant to the kind
of questions I have. Since I am just starting out in
this field, your responses will be immensely helpful.

Thank you,

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