Implementing a glossary

Subject: Implementing a glossary
From: Neal Moogk-Soulis <neal_ca -at- rocketmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 Nov 2005 14:12:15 -0800 (PST)


Hello,

I'm currently compiling a glossary to accompany
our next software release. Once we have the
content gathered, I need to figure out how to get
this information out to the user. I'm using
FrameMaker and Robohelp. Here are the
considerations:

1. There is no user guide. Most users (85 to 90
per cent) will be accessing the product online.
Their only source of information is an online
help system.

2. There is a feature guide and a dev guide. This
document is distributed as a PDF so a glossary
chapter is feasible. However, these docs are
generally not read in paper form so the
possibility exists to exploit PDF features.

3. The content is context sensitive. Terms
(usually UI fields) have different meanings,
definitions or levels of permission depending on
where the user is in the UI or what permissions
the user has. For the online user, I'm thinking
that a Glossary in the Help TOC might be the best
option.

4. Project size. There are over 400 separate help
pages (one per UI page) with over 300 terms which
may appear multiple times either in the same page
or across several pages. We already have some
difficulty maintaining order across the project
and I don't want to add another level (ie pop-up
links on individual words) that would be too hard
to maintain.

I'm curious to see how other people have provided
glossary definitions to online users. The two
options that I can think of are either a separate
glossary page or pop-ups when you roll over a
word. The former solution seems to be the quick
and dirty way and the latter solution seems to
mean a lot of work, especially if you want to
catch each word, but potentially more useful to
the user. Are there other options out there?

Thanks,

Neal



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