Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals

Subject: Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals
From: Jane Bergen <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996 10:59:52 +0000

Bill Newkirk writes:

> one problem we're seeing with new stuff, is "pointless help". got a
> dialog box with a field that says "file name" and an OK function
> button and you click the help key and get a nice dialog that says
> things like "this is the file name field". no duh. Nothing like
> doing the equivalent of using a word to define itself. This seems to
> be coming from the development tools that permit a developer to
> punch out a skeleton of a program easily w/o requiring any
> underlying structure (programmer/developer gets busy fixing up the
> program and forgets about those things put there by the "wizard"
> tools.)

This is my pet peeve and yet my engineers absolutely INSIST that I do
this! I hate it! They want every field in every window and dialog box
to have a separate topic. I've thrown fits but to no avail. How much
can you say about a field titled "Last Name" or "City"? It's just
plain ridiculous. I think the companies that are engineering-driven
rather than marketing-driven have this kind of problem. Sometimes I'm
glad that we are anonymous when we produce a manual or an online help
file that we had to do against our own judgment and in violation of
our training.

Jane Bergen
...............................................................
Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com or janeb -at- airmail -dot- net
"The difference between the right word and the
almost right word is the difference between lightning
and the lightning bug" (Mark Twain)
...............................................................


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