Re: Writing good help files

Subject: Re: Writing good help files
From: "Dana Worley" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: 'techwr-l List' <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 05 Sep 2008 10:06:21 -0600

HTHOn Thursday, September 04, 2008, Rob Hudson wrote:

> I had to dive in and edit a help file recently and found myself
> struggling to determine the "best practices" for task-based,
> reference-based, and path-based help. Is there a good book out there
> that has samples and best practices for designing help systems?

Hi Rob,

Years ago I purchased the book, "Standards for Online Communication" by JoAnn Hackos &
Dawn Stevens. It is copyrighted 1997 -- I have no idea if it has been updated. However, it
provides the information you are requesting. I haven't read it in many years, but I recall it was
helpful to me at the time. JoAnn may having something new & improved by now. :)

The "Windows Interface Guidelines for Software Design" also has a section on user
assistance. The copy I have was published in 1995 ("Covers Windows 95 & Windows NT!"
woot!). It has good info as well.

You may also want to look at the Vista User Experience Guidelines regarding help:

Sorry if any of this is redundant to other posts -- I receive the digest, which contained no
responses to your query :)


Dana W.


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Writing good help files: From: Rob Hudson

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