Style guides for software user manuals

Subject: Style guides for software user manuals
From: Patrick Wright <pdoubleya -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 7 Mar 2005 11:49:11 +0100


I have been looking around for style guides for user's manuals for GUI
software applications. Am writing in (British) English, but living in
Berlin so don't have access to large English-language bookstores
(there are some, just not where I can browse many shelves of books on

The manual I am writing will mainly be read in printed form, with a
PDF version available. My clients have asked for a prototype version
in HTML, which I am not too worried about, as they just need an idea
of how it will look.

The problem I have in this case is that the application has a huge set
of menus--both main and context menus--dialogues and configuration
options. This means that when referencing any of these UI items, if I
am not careful about how I highlight or distinguish them, I end up
with a blur of styling.

The manual's readers are professionals in their fields, but may not be
entirely fluent with GUIs, and it is important that the presentation
of the many options in the application be readable and easy to follow.

References/websites, etc. are welcome.

Many thanks


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