RE: User Guide - best practices

Subject: RE: User Guide - best practices
From: "Bill Swallow" <wswallow -at- nycap -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 28 Jul 2002 22:10:17 -0400

I prefer to break out the content into separate manuals, so the users
can refer to which one they need. I find that large books tend not to be
used as much or are less usable when consulted, as they are bulky and
the index/toc can be a bit of a bear to use. I say ship two books, one
with task info, and one reference guide.

Information Design & Development Professional
tel/fax: 518.371.1867 wswallow -at- nycap -dot- rr -dot- com
List Owner: HATT, WWP-Users, InFrame
Co-Moderator: SingleSourcing-Mgmt
WebWorks Wizard Editor of InFrame Magazine

::: -----Original Message-----
::: 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?

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User Guide - best practices: From: Lisa Conway

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