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>So how have y'all approached this, if you have at all? Is today's techdoc
>department way too burdened to even predesign?
One year ago we had a departmental meeting where we decided to
move our documentation on-line. Our first meeting was a blue-sky
discussion filled with "Wouldn't it be cool if....".
After writing down all ideas and getting very excited about all
the possibilities, we made our real plan. That plan involved a
three-year evolution from paper-centered documentation to on-line
centered documentation. Cool stuff is planned into the docs
a little at a time.
We released our "1.0" version of on-line docs this summer.
This first release consisted of 19 PDF books, a Welcome
screen (library table of contents), and WinHelp files.
Features included linked TOC and indexes, use of color
elements, linked cross-references, and broader use of
cross-references. We also simplified the page design for
a good-looking screen.
This release was heavy on the visual aspects of on-line design.
Because we knew that some of our customers would resist the
move on-line, we wanted to make the first release as appealing
as possible, while still maintaining the familiar book format and
organization. So far, the response has been very positive.
During the next two years, each release will add more features, and
become more on-line centered. Taking this incremental approach
gives us time to do each new feature well and gives our customers
time to adjust to our new approach. It also gives us something solid
to crow about with each release!