Re: Presentation of detailed images in a User's Guide?

Subject: Re: Presentation of detailed images in a User's Guide?
From: Beth Agnew <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 06 Mar 2003 19:23:15 -0500

What may be most effective is something other than the traditional user guide. By that I mean, would an alphabetical reference of field names be more useful, or a discussion of the principles involved in each interface so the user could easily figure out for themselves what is needed on each screen?.

Not meaning to sound facetious, but do you really need to define all those fields and objects? I realize this may sound like heresy, but perhaps the level of knowledge of your user base is such that you don't need to show every screen and every report. People who understand how reports are generated, and that they can customize the content of the report based on various criteria, do not need to be told that the Report Title field is where they should enter the title of the report.

If you need to explain certain fields, such as "Effective Date is the date when the policy is accepted by the carrier, not the date on which it is written", then a means of looking up "effective date" would be more useful than having to remember which screen, and consequently which page of the documentation, that field appears on.

Ideally, the product should have built-in help so that when the user is in the Effective Date field, for example, a right click would pop up a contextualized explanation of that field, i.e. effective date on policy screen vs. effective date on benefits screen. But I realize that that is a design issue you may not have much control over.

My suggestion is to be somewhat radical and really consider whether your users need to have every interface screen reproduced in the manual/help when they will see the screen in front of them.(Then the trick is to sell that innovation to the powers that be. :-)

Cummings, Elizabeth wrote:

Anyone out there who can point me in the direction of online or hard copy
user's guides whose authors did a nice job of presenting detailed images of
interfaces or reports?

I document a system that has at least 30 interfaces and that generates about
75 reports. Both the interfaces and the reports have many, many fields
and/or objects that need defining, and I am looking for good examples that
can serve as models for the work I need to do. Haven't found any, so far. ...

Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416.491.5050 x3133


Order RoboHelp Office X3 by March 14 and receive a $100 mail-in rebate,
plus FREE WebHelp Merge Module and FREE iMarkup Software, for a
total giveaway value of $439! Order today at

Help celebrate TECHWR-L's 10th Anniversary starting this month!
Check out the contests at
Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you, happy birthday TECHWR-L....

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Presentation of detailed images in a User's Guide?: From: Cummings, Elizabeth

Previous by Author: Requirement analysis
Next by Author: Re: Calling a Bug a Bug
Previous by Thread: Presentation of detailed images in a User's Guide?
Next by Thread: Re: Presentation of detailed images in a User's Guide?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads