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Oh! I am *so* jealous! I love developing tutorials. It's my absolute
favorite thing to do. And I love programming in Java. If I could meld
those two, I would be absolutely ecstatic. Throw in modular writing,
and I'd be unable to handle the excitement, and would likely faint.
This, of course, does nothing to help you figure out how to map out
your course. But that out of the way, I would say that the first thing
you need to do is know the tool, yourself. Let's assume that you know
that. Next, I would figure out what features of your tool/api
library/widget/whatever set it apart from the competition. Then, I
would figure out how those features would be most advantageous to your
specific silos (as we call them in gov't... private industry I seem to
recall calls them vertical markets). Then, I would figure out how to
make the tutorials such that they get early bang for the buck (think
"hello world" but better), and that eventually take the person going
through the tutorial to the place where they're going to be *begging*
the management to buy the tool/api library/widget/whatever. (Don't
fall into the wrong thinking only that this will be used by people who
already have the software... if you do this right, it would SO be good
as a marketing document!)
Remember, though, that the most important thing to answer throughout
the tutorial is not "how," but "why!"
Let us know how it goes!
thejavaguy -at- gmail -dot- com
On 6/25/07, V. Camgros <camgros -at- mindspring -dot- com> wrote:
> Hello colleagues,
> I seldom post on this list, though I read your discussion with interest and often respond to individuals when I think I might have a contribution. Now I am faced with an opportunity and would like your opinions on how to best respond to it.
> I work for a small startup that makes Java developer tools. We've recently re-designed the product and now my management wants new product tutorials developed to match.
> I know that the new tutorials must be modular, written to answer the needs of the specific target audiences, and easy to understand. Beyond that, the field is so completely wide open that it feels like my mind might explode.
> And so my question to you: How would you go about planning this redesign? What books, web sites, blogs, whathaveyou are essential to informing your efforts when attempting to train your uses to be successful with your products.
> My thanks in advance for any and all advice. I will attempt a summary post if it seems warranted.
> Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
> printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
> Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.
> True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
> Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
> documentation. Boost your productivity! http://www.helpandmanual.com
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