Re[2]: Planning before writing on-line help

Subject: Re[2]: Planning before writing on-line help
From: Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- PROTEON -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 1994 09:22:00 EST

In addition to the Online Documentation tape that SDSTC offers (email me at the
address below if this sparks interest), I would also reccommend getting a copy
of "The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design" edited by Brenda Laurel. It is
a collection of papers on UI design. One chapter, Building User-Centered
On-line(sic) Help, is especially good at addressing the kinds of things you need
to think about structuring into a help file.

It breaks the user's process down into five questions

* What can I do?
* What is it?
* How do I do it?
* Why did that happen?
* Where am I?

I've found the information it contains to be tremendously helpful in the
planning stages. You can narrow it down, for example: "Ok, we're only going to
cover what is it and how do I do it in the first rev." You can plan icons for
each type of question. Or whatever. It just gives you some kind of process for
planning help that answers the questions users ask when they go to help.

Hope that, uh, helps...

Bonni Graham
Technical Writer (currently freelance)
President of SDSTC
BonniG -at- aol -dot- com

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