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

Subject: Re: writing See Also's in on-line help.
From: "Burns, Nancy" <nburns -at- BREAULT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 1 Oct 1997 13:16:14 -0000

On 10/01/97, Ron Rhodes <Ron_D_Rhodes -at- MAIL -dot- BANKONE -dot- COM> asked:
> I am currently waiting for my copy of William Horton's "How to Write
> On-Line Help" to arrive from Until it get's here I need
> to ask your advice on See Also's.
> Is there a "standard" or a reasoning for what kinds of links an
> on-line author should include in See Also's?

I looked up "See also" and "Related topics" in three online Help books (all
highly recommended books):

1. Developing Online Help for Windows 95, Boggan, Farkas, Welinske, 1996
2. Designing and Writing Online Documentation, Horton, 1994
3. Designing Windows 95 Help, Deaton and Zubak, 1996

#1, Developing Online Help, talks about See Also or Related Topics in the
context of standard topic jumps: "Jumps often take the form of hotspot jump
text formatted with green underlining...Lists of these jumps appear at the
bottom of Help topics under the subheadings "See Also" or "related Topics"
Another alternative is to list related topics in a pop-up window that
displays when the user clicks the "see also" hotspot text...Alternatively,
when a related topic is closely associated with a particular step, it may
appear right within that step."

#2, Designing and Writing Online Documentation has references to See also
under Cross-References and Links (types of). There are no See Also or
Related Topics in the index.

#3, Designing Windows 95 Help, gives this information under "Related
topics" (there is no See also topic in the index):

" can make your Related Topics hotspots appear whenever and in
whatever way you want. For example, some authors put them in the
non-scrolling region just below the topic title (accessed through a
button), while others make them part of a Help toolbar or place them on the
WinHelp button bar..."
"...text for "Related Topics" might be: See Also, More?..."

Nancy Burns
nburns -at- breault -dot- com

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