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I'm looking for some advice on a documentation set I inherited.
I'm documenting a fairly simple GUI application for users who are not
particularly knowledgable about using software. Users can fill in forms to
search a database for information and update that information. When I started
this job, the doc set consisted of the following pieces:
Reference Manual, organized by menu
Tutorial, organized by major task
Quick Reference Card, organized by task
Users complained that the Tutorial was too long and intimidating, so I wrote a
Quick Start manual. This piece presents a subset of the tutorial. However, the
folks in the field like to use the Tutorial for training, so I can't dump it.
I'm toying with the idea of converting the Reference Manual to a task-oriented
format. Instead of having chapters called File Menu, Edit Menu, etc., I'd have
chapters like Searching, Updating, etc. This piece would be the receptacle for
all information about the application, from soup to nuts.
o Given that I have a fairly detailed Tutorial, do you think a task-oriented
User's Guide would be redundant? The User's Guide would contain more
detail, but I can foresee repeating a lot of information.
o How valuable do you think the menu-based organization is for a fairly simple