Brainstorming: Help vs Tutorial (why, concept, etc)

Subject: Brainstorming: Help vs Tutorial (why, concept, etc)
From: Deborah Hemstreet <dvora -at- tech-challenged -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 23 Jul 2009 09:07:05 -0400

Hi All,

I'm trying to think out of the box, and but my box has chains...

When working on online Help, how would YOU distinguish between the pure
HOW TO (delete, add, use a dialog box, etc.)
vs

Why would I ever want to do this to begin with. Conceptual information
that, without knowing this up front, you'll never know you NEED to add,
delete, etc.)

Do Tutorials provide the concept as well as the how to? I've seen so
many different types I'm fuzzy on this as well.

At issue, I am trying to organize my Help files in a manner that assures
the user gets the CONCEPTUAL CRITICAL information they need, before they
ever get to the how to use this dialog or screen or whatever. My
dilemma, I know the user is going to have a webex training, get a PPT
presentation afterwards, and that's it. I need to give them all the
nitty gritty, so that when they search for X, they get Z which will
explain the WHY of X. Users receive no printed documentation (other than
release notes).

(Please folks, no bashing the company, the project, the requirements -
this is what I have to do) I am just looking for additional ideas,
suggestions, thought, on how to get that all in a Help file in a manner
as user friendly as possible.

Thanks in advance,

Deborah
http://www.tech-challenged.com (and feeling more and more challenged as
this project goes on)
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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