Field-specific Help

Subject: Field-specific Help
From: l m <lm5582002 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 16 Aug 2007 14:30:06 -0700 (PDT)


I've been a tech writer for a long time, but have never had to do online help before. Our (rather large and therefore bureaucratic) company has decided to start with field-specific help for our application. The app is very industry-specific, so anyone who's working on it will/should know the terminology. (I know, "should..." but really, it's not rocket science we're doing here....) My contention is that for the fields like "Name," "Address," "Phone Number," etc. we do not need online help defining these fields! And the other, only slightly more complex fields should be labeled so that the user doesn't need further instruction.

Has anyone had experience documenting such an interface? Do I really have to write, "In the Name field, enter your name."??? I will also be providing the system requirements, such as # of characters, whether symbols are allowed, etc. but for the field definitions this just seems a little silly. Anyone out there succeed in making the "Name" (or "Address" or "Phone Number") field seem much more interesting in their documentation, or do you all just leave it to stand on its own?

Thanks for any insight on this. I can't believe something so simple has me at a standstill.

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