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I see it differently: A manual and a help system try to do
two different things, which I describe in terms of the ideal,
Manual - When you read the magic manual, you become
an expert at whatever it's about. The manual, in practice,
is also the backup to the help system.
Help System - When you push the magic help button,
you get the answer to whatever your question was.
Both should cover most of the same material, but in different
From: geoff-h[SMTP:geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca]
Sent: Tuesday, January 30, 1996 9:57 AM
To: Multiple recipients of list TEC
Subject: Re. Online help/docs
Let's back up a step or two: why do we provide docs
(documentation) in the first place? There's only one
reason, with myriad variations on that theme: we document
to answer the questions of our audience because we're not
there to answer the questions in person. The online versus
paper issue is secondary to the main issue of audience: do
we know what our audience will need to know, have we
provided this information, and have we structured the
information so they can find what they need efficiently?