RE: Documenting "touchy" applications

Subject: RE: Documenting "touchy" applications
From: "Mike Starr" <writstar -at- wi -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 01:43:09 -0600

Two things come to mind...

1. Don't bother with "what ifs". Document the proper procedure and if the
user doesn't follow it they'll learn next time. Instruct the support troops
to respond with "RTFM" when they get calls about how your procedure doesn't

2. Identify those sorts of procedures with a special icon in the margin
that indicates that the user can't play fast and loose with the steps. As
an alternative, you could also include a boilerplate warning that says
"You've got to follow these steps exactly or the procedure won't work. You
won't get any sympathy from tech support if you don't do exactly what I'm
telling you here."


Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
Office: (262) 694-1028 - Pager: (414) 318-9509 - Fax: (262) 697-6334
Home (262) 694-0932 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -

-----------------------Original Message-----------------------
>Subject: Documenting "touchy" applications
>From: John Posada <jposada01 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
>Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 11:43:14 -0800 (PST)
>X-Message-Number: 15
>Hi, guys...question.
>What's happeninig is that my documentation is becoming half "What to
>do", half "What not to do".
>Not only that, but maybe I'm making the applications appear more
>complex than it would be if the user did exactly the right thing at
>the right time.
>Is there a balance..a middle of the road approach? How do you guys
>handle this?
>John Posada, Senior Technical Writer

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