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I would provide a very brief "basics" section in the event there is somebody
who might have an 'interesting' interpretation of what a particular fields
mean. It can also put you in the mindset of catching help issues that you
might otherwise miss. Like a recent change in the system for a credit card
company that I use required that I create a new user logon and password. I
tried, and got the error that "username must be in the proper format."
"Great," I thought to myself, "which format?" The web page didn't have any
help for the form. Sometimes, even the 'basics' require explanation.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lt34=csus -dot- edu -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lt34=csus -dot- edu -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
> Behalf Of l m
> Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 2:30 PM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Field-specific Help
> 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.
> Building a website is a piece of cake.
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> 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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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. http://www.DocToHelp.com/TechwrlList
True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
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