TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
From:"Lindamood, Brad" <blindamood -at- DCA -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 30 Nov 1994 18:11:56 EST
>I'm currently working on a manual set that was recently put online,
>complete with hyperlinks among and between volumes, chapters, and
>sections. The hardcopy version included a brief section
>(approximately a paragraph long) to introduce each chapter. Online,
>this introduction seems unnecessary or at least misplaced (a single
>frame, linked only to the volume TOC). Does anyone have any
>suggestions on this sort of structure difference for online
>documentation? (e.g., perhaps the intro should be placed on the TOC
We have used two approaches to this situation. First, you can include
an entry on the TOC called "Overview" under each chapter entry, which
includes you introductory information. The contents of the topic
should be obvious to the user, and they will view it only if needed. A
possible drawback with this method is that if the system is slow (you
don't mention the Web, but this is implied in your mention of HTML in
the subject) this can be a waste of time. We use this for Windows
online Help, so speed is *usually* not a problem.
The other method, which you also mention, is to put a brief (1 or 2
lines, complete sentences not necessary) overview directly alongside
or below the chapter link. The user can then see the overview
immediately without jumping to a new location. I would probably go
with this method, as long as it doesn't require huge overviews.
| Brad Lindamood E-mail: blindamood -at- dca -dot- com |
| Information Specialist |
| D C A Phone: 513.794.8355 |
| 8230 Montgomery Road |
| Cincinnati, OH 45236 Fax: 513.745.0327 |
| "Objects in your monitor are closer than they appear" |