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Subject:How do you organize user manuals? From:Gwen Barnes <gwen -dot- barnes -at- MUSTANG -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 28 Jul 1995 22:32:10 GMT
-> When you organize your computer user manuals, do you put
-> everything in logical sequence--start-up, basic tasks, complex
-> tasks, appendices--or do you organize by frequency of use,
Tried the "logical sequence" thing and customers either loved it
(QmodemPro for Windows) or hated it (Wildcat! 4). It depends on the type
of users, I guess. The QMWin users were (or thought they were) less
technically sophisticated than the BBS operators and hence more
amenable to absorbing information from authoritative sources.
The complaints I got about WC4 were mainly that it was either too
"technical", too "complicated", or "not technical enough" (go figure).
Keep in mind that this is a program that practically jumps out of the
box and runs by default -- technical detail about its operation would
serve only to get novice users in trouble fast. There is a misconception
that this type of software is for the technically inclined, leading its
users to fancy themselves as wireheads, too sophisticated to look at a
mere user guide.
For my current project, I'm writing the online help first, since the
random-access context-sensitive nature of Winhelp makes the organization
of the information more or less irrelevant. When that is complete, it
will go into printed form, although the arrangement at this point is
still under discussion.
I'm thinking of alphabetizing the subject headings and leaving it at
that. I'll recommend we bind the book in something hard and durable, so
it will be useful for propping up tables, since few people bother to