Where's the beginning? (was RE: When to Spell Out Acronyms)

Subject: Where's the beginning? (was RE: When to Spell Out Acronyms)
From: mlist -at- safenet-inc -dot- com
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 11:07:37 -0500

Al Geist [mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com] had this to say:

On the issue of spelling out acronyms upon first occurrence
or in a place that readers are most likely to see 'em...

> If you place the table at the beginning of the document,
> then wouldn't that
> satisfy the criteria of spelling it out the first time it
> appears? If so,
> that would save you the time rearranging when your former
> first instance it
> not longer the first instance because of
> revisions....phew...need a cup of
> coffee after that last sentence.

This, of course, got me to wondering what's the best approach
in Help.

We've pretty much been dropping paper and PDF documents in
favor of Help. Mostly WebHelp.

So, where's the beginning of Help?

I've already got contending demands to have my WebHelp
start page be:

a) the disclaimer, acknowlegement and copyright page

b) an intro page for product configuration (my preference)

c) various other bright ideas.

Since I can only really have one "Start" page, I can't accomodate everyone.

I _could_ spell out acronyms in hidden-til-you-click dynamic html
expanding or drop-down text... but since a person can enter Help
at any point, that would mean putting expansions behind (under? around?)
virtually every occurrence of an acronym. That would make my Help
pages even patchier than they are now. Eek!

As well, I already make liberal use of expanding or drop-down text
for asides, non-essential examples, good-to-know stuff, etc., and
I don't wish to "devalue" those links by crowding them among
thousands of repetitive expanded acronyms.

What do others do?


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