Re: Newbie looking for help on user guides/manuals

Subject: Re: Newbie looking for help on user guides/manuals
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 12 Mar 2002 18:53:31 +0100

>I was wondering if I could get any pointers to the
>different kinds of styles for writing user guides.

Here are some common approaches:

- Reference: Describe each user interface element, language command,
file, or whatever the product is made of. This generally answers
questions of "What does this do?" or "How do I use this?"

- Guide: Describe all tasks the user is likely to want to perform with
the product. This answers question of "How can I do this?"

- Tutorial: A tutorial takes the novice user through the basic functions
of the product. It answers the question "How does <product> work in priciple?"

Note that these approaches (and others that there may be) do not exclude
each other. On the contrary, it is usually best to have more than one way
of explaining the product.

> 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.

When I tried to find something in a Microsoft user guide, I usually had a
lot of trouble getting anywhere. For me at least, they are not good.
(Your mileage may vary.)

Hope this helps
Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 81 79 93 07 12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:
Handelsregister: München HRB 99345

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Newbie looking for help on user guides/manuals: From: Alan Alda

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