Re: Pre-requisites for Help Documentation

Subject: Re: Pre-requisites for Help Documentation
From: <neilson -at- alltel -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2004 12:46:08 -0500

First step is for you to prepare a documentation plan.
(We've heard about these before, right?) YOU (not the
others in the company) need to go ask the nosy questions
that are the basis of the plan.

I'm not going to supply a full plan template here. There
are many available already. Here are a few ideas, though:

WHO is going to read the help screens?
WHEN will they read them and WHY?
HOW will they know that help is available?
HOW MUCH of the system will be covered by the help screens?
HOW will you know if the help files you prepare are good?
WHAT will users expect to do when the help they get is
not what they thought they asked for?
WHAT will they actually do when they are badly frustrated?

WHEN are the help files supposed to be finished?
HOW MANY of them will there be?
WHAT will you do when the information you need is not
WHO will help you get info when you're told, "You already
know that!" ??

HOW will you plan for the crisis when all the user
interface changes, but your schedule does not?

Your plan should address all these items and more. Don't
let anyone trick you into starting without a written
plan, or into promising too much in too short a time.



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