Re: How to make online help unhelpful

Subject: Re: How to make online help unhelpful
From: John Russell <johnr -at- BRS -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 27 Sep 1994 09:49:47 EDT

> Matt Hicks said:
> > it says and . . . *beep*. Huh? I click in the Word application window
> > again. *Beep* *Beep* Damn! You can't keep the Help window open and work
> > in the application!? I read the procedure and *write it down* so that I
> > won't forget what I'm doing and that's the end of my little foray into
> > Word's Help feature. I don't think I'll be going back again.

> This is quite common for on-line help. I'm assuming there must be a
> technical reason why, because it sure doesn't make sense!

Interesting. My version of Word for Windows 6 has this "On Top" button
that enables my procedural information to remain on top while I follow
the instructions.

I've actually found that I use help files more and more extensively.
Initially I might rely on the book, but after I have the basics down
and my questions become more specific, I'm more apt to rumage around
through the help file to find the information I'm looking for. In fact,
several months ago I "lost" my Word manual and haven't missed it. AND,
whenever I'm writing a Word macro, I rely almost exclusively on the
help. (Sometimes I have to rely on my copy of Word Developer's Kit, but
I believe there is more information in there than in the help file.)

I wonder, though, how much my use of online help has to do with my
experience developing online help files. I've developed a few so I know
my way around them pretty well. I know which features work best (for
me, obviously) and how best to "step around" much the same way I might
look in a table of contents and then at a page of information, or go
from the index to several different pages.

I don't believe, however, that online help will ever replace hard copy

Oh well. My two cents worth.


johnr -at- lurch -dot- brs -dot- com

|/ K. John Russell \|
| Dataware Technologies, Inc. |
| 5 Computer Drive South |
| Albany, New York 12205 |
|\ (518) 437-4025 /|

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