installation instructions and screen captures

Subject: installation instructions and screen captures
From: cronin -at- DONVAN -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 08:04:20 EST

Michael Barwic writes:

...What's the consensus about how thorough the installation instructions
ought to be? I've been working on the assumption that every step of the
process should be documented, screen by screen. ....Today I've had this
assumption challenged, even though its generally acknowledged that some
of the audience for these instructions will likely be (somewhat technophobic)
newbies.

These instructions will be posted to a website and even if I cut down
the level of detail, I'm still going to have to include some screen
captures. My supervisor has specified that screen captures should keep
to a width of 400.
------------------------------

I wonder if you can use website delivery (hypertext) as a solution
that keeps both your supervisor and your "thirsty for information" users
happy. You could divide your instructions into two linked levels; one that
is a summary (perhaps a table of steps with brief descriptions) and another
that is the detail behind the step. The users who need detail could link
from the summary table to the detail.

Perhaps you could do something similar with the art and link to an
appendix of screen captures. (That assumes that your supervisor's concern
is that the captures are "cluttering up" the text.)

I would include the detail (text and picture) somewhere in the document.
There will be a percentage of your audience who will need it.

Gene Cronin
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