Re: Organizing Task and Ref Info (Was Good Software Manuals)

Subject: Re: Organizing Task and Ref Info (Was Good Software Manuals)
From: WandaJane Phillips <wandajp -at- ANDYNE -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Tue, 23 Jan 1996 16:41:20 -0500

Gretchen Toth wrote:

> Mike Starr wrote on Mon, 22 Jan 1996 10:38:

> >I firmly believe that both the online help and the manual should be as
> >thorough and comprehensive as possible and that they both should contain
> >essentially the same information. I also believe that both should contain
> >both task-based and reference data.

> I agree. And for printed documentation I have chosen to have the first part
> of the manual as task-based and the second part as reference. As for the
> help file, I plan to include the task-based information in the 'main'
> sections of the help file, i.e., click on a hyperlink in the TOC and you
> will jump to task-based information for that topic. My strict reference
> information, however, will appear when the user selects a link to popup SHED
> graphic (Click here to see Really Nifty Dialog) and then clicks on an item
> in the popup dialog (Click on any of the items in the dialog for more info).
> This method of organization makes it relatively easy to convert to help
> using Doc-to-Help too.

> I would like to hear how others arrange their printed and, especially,
> online help when trying to incorporate task and reference info.

> :-)

> Gretchen

> <><><><><><><><><><><><><>
> Gretchen L. Toth
> Technical Writer
> The Iconovex Corporation
> gretchen -dot- toth -at- iconovex -dot- com
> <><><><><><><><><><><><><>

What you describe comes very close to what we're doing. We have an
introductory guide -- a tutorial, with more extensive online task-based
help, context-sensitive links from the app, and one or two reference
guides (one is a functional reference and one is a conceptual guide).

WandaJane Phillips
Senior Technical Writer -- Pablo
Andyne Computing
Usual disclaimers in effect

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