Summary: Estimating Windows Help

Subject: Summary: Estimating Windows Help
From: Leslie McKendry-Smith <McKendrySmith -at- MBNET -dot- MB -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 14 Oct 1996 09:38:37 -0500

Thanks to everyone who replied. Although the answers varied quite a bit,
they were all helpful.

I received one reference to JoAnn Hackos' book 'Managing Your Documentation
Projects.' On page 170, she says to plan for 4 hours per topic (total time
including project tracking, development, etc.)

Another person referred me to 'Creating A Hypertext Help System For A
GUI-Based Client/Server' in the 1994 STC Proceedings.

"Total pages = (total # of topics)(average pages/topic)

Total hours = (total pages)(3 hours/page)

Add one hour/page for creating jumps, popups, keywords, etc."

Two people recommended ForeHelp as a good authoring tool for converting
existing manuals to Windows Help. Both writers seemed to be able to convert
to Winhelp much faster than me although neither gave a figure in minutes per
topic. Perhaps I'm using the wrong tool.

Another person had written a manual with the intention of converting it to
Windows Help and hired a contractor to perform the conversion. The
contractor worked at a rate of 45 minutes per topic.

Everyone who responded pointed out the difference between 'slapping' a
manual online and designing and building a useful help system. I'll
summarize those comments by saying that quality takes time.

I would also like to thank everyone for their moral support.

Leslie McKendry-Smith

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