Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals

Subject: Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals
From: Tracy Boyington <trlyboyi -at- GENESIS -dot- ODVTE -dot- STATE -dot- OK -dot- US>
Date: Tue, 30 Jan 1996 15:27:54 +0000

> > 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.

> 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.

Jane, I hate seeing this kind of "help" as much as you hate
creating it. As long as they're forcing you to put a self-
referencing pop-up there, would it be possible to add
some kind of useful information to it? For example, instead
of just saying "this is the file name field," could you also
say "if you have questions about how to use this field,
see the reference manual"? Give a specific chapter if possible,
but if not, it would at least let me know that I'm not going to
find any more information about this subject in the online
help. Just an idea.

Tracy Boyington
Technical Communication Specialist
Oklahoma Department of Vocational & Technical Education
Stillwater, Oklahoma

I never express opinions, but if one slips out, it belongs
to me and not ODVTE.

"I think I did pretty well, considering I started out
with nothing but a bunch of blank paper."
-- Steve Martin

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