RE: (was WinHelp on Vista - was a useful link) Now, what if...

Subject: RE: (was WinHelp on Vista - was a useful link) Now, what if...
From: "Dana Worley" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Sep 2006 09:41:23 -0600

I'm on digest, so I'll apologize in advance if this is a repeat :)

On Wednesday, September 20, 2006, sbuckley wrote:

> we, the technical communication industry, need to start providing the
> recommendations for what's needed and make them heard. How?

In regard to the technologies developed by Microsoft, that is one of
the roles of their MVP program -- to help to make the community's
voice heard. There are a couple of MS Help MVPs here on Techwr-l
and several more who regularly monitor yahoo's HATT (help
authoring) list.

> What if there were WWW3 standards on how to create and deliver Help for
> software? Presently I can't find such standards. Maybe I'm out of the loop
> and missed something on their site. If so, please provide information.

There have been a few moves within the industry in this direction.
The problem as I see it is that once standards are in place, you are
expected to conform to those standards ;) For instance, in one
discussion a person was arguing that we should enforce a standard
that images cannot be included in on-line help. While his argument
was that images affects accessibility (and that's a good argument),
I'm sure we'd all agree that his solution is a bit extreme :)

I think, in part, what is available in the technology itself somewhat
dictates the help standards. For instance, HTMLHelp does a less
than stellar job when it comes to popups. Thus, we have seen a lot
of people move away from field-level context sensitive help and
some people would even argue that it is no longer a best practice or
acceptable standard. It will be interesting, and exciting, to see what
technologies emerge over the next couple of years.

I you have specific concerns about existing features or if there are
new features you would like to see implemented in Microsoft's help
technology, you can post those ideas here or to the HATT list for
further discussion, or to any of the MVPs directly. While I don't want
to imply that MS always listens to us, at least we do have their ear.
(And some of us can be very persistent and annoying :)


Dana W.

Dana Worley
Manager, Software Support Group
Campbell Scientific, Inc.
Microsoft MVP, Windows Help 2003-2006


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RE: WinHelp on Vista - a useful link: From: Dan Goldstein
RE: (was WinHelp on Vista - was a useful link) Now, what if...: From: sbuckley

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