Re: Creating Context Sensitive Help

Subject: Re: Creating Context Sensitive Help
From: "Paul Strasser" <paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 17 Jul 2002 08:46:16 -0600


You asked for feedback on creating a feasibility plan for converting a long
Word doc to online help. Here are a few things to consider.

Are you familiar with the software that's documented? If not, the first
thing I'd do is to look at the actual software product and compare its
functionality with what is in the printed user's guide. You might quickly
discover that the current guide is either incorrect or very poorly written.
If that's the case, you have to include the time for rewrites into any time
estimate.

Again, if you're not familiar with the software, ask if there are any
updates or enhancements in the current version that weren't documented in
the user's guide. I don't mean to sound like A. Plato here, but one thing
you must be sure of is that the online help is technically accurate, not
simply that it exists.

RoboHelp will work for the task of creating the online help from an existing
Word document. You didn't mention what sort of help is needed,
win/web/html/etc, but RH Office does fine for any of the common types of
help systems. But if you are familiar with Word, RoboHelp will be a
comfortable interface for you.

You should note within the feasiblity study that others - notably
programmers - might be involved in the creation of context sensitivity.
Whether the map numbers auto-generated by RH will be enough depends on the
programming environment. Regardless, someone will have to ensure that the
map numbers in the program and in RH will match. This isn't a big deal, but
let folks know about this.

RH has a lot of bells and whistles. What Geoff Hart said about
concentrating on just a few required elements is absolutely right. Learn
these elements (they aren't hard!), make sure the information is accurate,
and edit for readability. To me the biggest variable is whether you need to
rewrite extensively. Once you get the hang of creating a topic or creating
an internal jump the actual creation of the online help will go fast.

As far as actual time estimates, what others have said are dandy. I usually
over-estimate how long projects will take for me, so any numbers or methods
of estimation I give probably won't be accurate.

Good luck, and welcome to the group.

Paul Strasser
Windsor Technologies, Inc.
2569 Park Lane, Suite 200
Lafayette, Colorado 80026
Phone: 303-926-1982
FAX: 303-926-1510
E-mail: paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com





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References:
Creating Context Sensitive Help: From: Priyadarshi Tripathy

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