Configuration/personalization manual?

Subject: Configuration/personalization manual?
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: Pragya Gupta <pragya -dot- gupta -at- smartchiponline -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 10 Jul 2006 09:26:41 -0400

Pragya Gupta wondered: <<I am working as a technical writer in a GSM company. My manager has asked me to create Configuration/personalization manual for a Mobile Browser application. As if now, I do not have any other details regarding the product.>>

While you wait for the product to become clear, try to meet the product developers (even if only by e-mail) and find a way to remain up to date on their plans. Becoming part of the team in this way is the best way to learn what's going on and be included in planning.

If there are things you can help the developers do because they don't want to do it, such as taking notes at their meetings or writing functional specifications so that they don't have to, it's a great way to get them to appreciate you while also keeping you up to speed on what's going on. Never look on this as menial work: everyone gets to do boring jobs at some point, and the benefit of you doing the boring work in this case is that you become an appreciated part of the team* instead of an outsider.

* Not always. Some developers have the personality of a slug. But the good ones are people too, and will appreciate your efforts to help them.

<<Can some one give me a brief idea about the structure of the Configuration/personalization manual?>>

That someone would be the customers who are going to use it. <g> If you can't find a way to talk to these people and get a feel for their needs, do a bit of role playing: pretend that you're them, and that your goal is to configure and personalize the browser. Forget about the features for a moment and ask yourself the following question: "So I've got this device. What do I want to do with it?" Now you can ask the followup questions: "Where and why and when will I be doing these things, and what are the corresponding constraints? What features will let me do those things?" That's what you need to know to structure the information.

There are many other questions, all related to audience analysis, but they all come down to a simple concept: understanding who will be using the product, the situation in which they will use it, and what they need to know to succeed in that situation.

<<Please provide me some ideas to create template for the same.>>

Do you mean structure and content (as opposed to fonts and spacing)? If so, the template will vary from product to product and from context to context (situation of use, users, constraints, etc.).

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Configuration/personalization manual: From: Pragya Gupta

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