Re: Help or User Manual First?

Subject: Re: Help or User Manual First?
From: Sue Heim <sue -at- RIS -dot- RISINC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 11:20:24 -0700

To David's reply regarding WexTech's white paper, Tom Altom wrote:
> Again without having taken the time to read the white paper, I'd have to
> stand for the moment with those who'd advocate doing the two files
> separately, and in two different tools. That is, if you have the time and
> the money. Given the increasing costs of development time and the inevitable
> shortening of time-to-market, I'd say that the trend is toward
> single-source, not away.

Of all the people I know who single-source online and written docs,
NOBODY just takes the one and pours it into the other. For obvious
reasons.

If you are the only writer in a company, and need to provide both
forms of documentation at the same time, single-sourcing is the only
option. We've had these discussions millions of times before
(doesn't this pop up, oh, about twice a year? <grin>). I am a very
firm advocate of single-sourcing *because* I am the only writer here.
I do, however, realize that the two forms of media are very
different, and they are handled differently. I have to make changes
to allow for context, the "flippability" of pages, popups (versus
margin callouts), "see also's" and the like. But, if I didn't use the
bulk of what's written for one in the other, there's no way on earth
that I would meet deadlines.

And you know what? None of our users think either our written docs or
online help is awful, so I must be doing something right. (Either
that, or nobody reads the docs -- dreadful thought, no? <grin>)

...sue
-------------------------
Sue Heim
Research Information Systems
Carlsbad, California USA
Email: Sue -at- ris -dot- risinc -dot- com

TECHWR-L (Technical Communication) List Information: To send a message
to 2500+ readers, e-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send commands
to LISTSERV -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU (e.g. HELP or SIGNOFF TECHWR-L).
Search the archives at http://www.documentation.com/ or search and
browse the archives at http://listserv.okstate.edu/archives/techwr-l.html


Previous by Author: Re: Trademarks for Other Companies' Products
Next by Author: Job Posting - Waterloo Ontario
Previous by Thread: Help or User Manual First? -Reply
Next by Thread: Last call for 2nd annual techwr-l -at- STC dinner


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads