Re: writing See Also's in on-line help.

Subject: Re: writing See Also's in on-line help.
From: Scott Miller <smiller -at- CORP -dot- PORTAL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 12:44:18 -0700

Ron the Rookie HDK developer asks:
> Is there a "standard" or a reasoning for what kinds of links an
> on-line author should include in See Also's?
>Working within the 5 - 9 items in a list rule, your priorities should be:
>1. Links that are directly related to the procedure. For example, if the
>topic is about printing in portrait mode, a see also topic would be printing
>in landscape mode. A very good link to include is to an overview topic that
>describes the feature and its context.
>2. Links that are somewhat related, but not really. For example, if the
>topic is about printing in portrait mode, a see also topic might be about
>printer setup. The reasoning here is that the user might have opened the
>topic by somewhat arbitrarily choosing "print" from the index, and opened a
>topic about printing that wasn't the right one. The see also topics gives the
>user a second chance to find the correct topic.
>3. Links that would help point out other features. For example, if there is
>a slightly related but interesting feature that you want to call to the
>user's attention, include it as a see also reference. Do this sparingly, and
>only if there are not very many other see also references.
>Users tend to use see also links for two reasons:
>1. The topic they opened isn't the right topic. This user is not happy, so a
>careful choice of see also topics can be a very good thing. This user will
>often jump from one see also list to another, and continue thrashing through
>see also lists until he or she gets ticked off and quits.
>2. The user is happily surfing your help system, learning about the product
>by serendipity. This doesn't happen very often.
>Scott Miller
>smiller -at- portal -dot- com

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