User Guide - best practices

Subject: User Guide - best practices
From: Lisa Conway <Lisa -dot- Conway -at- MEDecision -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 10:15:49 -0400

Hi all,

I'm a tech writer for a software company. My question concerns our user
guide. It is almost 500 pages and includes both descriptions of every window
and the various tasks a user would perform when using our application. We
also have another shorter manual for the same application that only includes
the tasks. My question is should we just go with the task based manual or is
it necessary to have a user guide that includes detailed descriptions of
every window? Our users are not always very computer savvy. We tried to do a
user survey recently and received very little feedback from it. They've
tried in the past (before my time) and also received little feedback. My
concern is that I don't want to leave something out of the manual that a
user might need to know but the user guide is becoming larger and larger.
What is the current best practice for a software manual?

Lisa Conway
Technical Writer
MEDecision, Inc.
(610) 254-0202 ext.1278

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