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Subject:Re: Online help From:Karen Gwynn/Datatel <Karen_Gwynn -at- DATATEL -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 29 Mar 1996 08:30:19 EDT
Melinda Carr asked:
In the initial release of the product, we tried to keep the printed
manual relatively brief and make the online helps the complete source of
information. Users complained that the manual didn't discuss the more
advanced topics. With every release, the manual gets bigger and bigger.
It bothers me that we duplicate everything, but OTOH, I want users to be
able to find the information they need. How have you resolved this
Personally (and professionally), I think of online help and the manual in just
the opposite way. When a user is online doing their thing and they have an
immediate question about the software, they go to online help. They want a
quick answer to an immediate question. If possible, it might be nice to provide
links to more in-depth information, but that shouldn't be the main focus.
However, when the user wants to know the big picture, how to do something
they've never done before, or understand a lot more details about an aspect of
the product, then they turn to the manual. They can sit at their desk, at a
table in the break room, or in bed at home and read all the gory details. They
should also be able to find step-by-step instructions (where appropriate) for
completing specific tasks.