HTML or WinHelp

Subject: HTML or WinHelp
From: Jackie DiGiovanni <JDigi88 -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Oct 1997 18:41:38 -0400

I have a question for the group, and I really value your opinions and ideas.
This is the first question I have asked, but I consider TECHWR-L to be an
invaluable resource to a new-to-the-business technical writer--me! I have
learned so much from reading the posts of the last few months.

I have been asked to provide a recommendation to management on which way to
proceed with a help project.

The situation is:
You have a project to write a help system for newly designed in-house
software (the company's first windows-based software), and you have the
option of recommending that the help be either HTML delivered on an intranet
platform (currently being developed) or WinHelp (probably RoboHelp), which
would you recommend using and why?

I tried to compose a list of criteria, which I know is incomplete, so please
add to the list as you see fit.

-- How familiar is the help navigation to the users?
-- How easily can the user learn the help navigation?
-- How easy is the help editor to learn?
-- Will IT support be needed to maintain/update the help system?
-- How flexible is the help system in accommodating needed functionality?
-- Could users be realistically expected to master the software if they need
to handle
-- Can the content be easily converted to paper docs?
-- Can the content be easily printed/downloaded for the user?
-- Does the help editor support jumps, hotspot graphics, secondary windows,
popups, 16-bit color, glossary, index, search/find?
-- What development tool is needed to create the help system?
-- Can the help system be called from a database on a Unix system?
-- Will the help system be "enhanceable" as new technologies emerge?
-- Will the help system be "enhanceable" as new features are needed?
-- Can the help system be used to leverage other company programs?

I am very interested in hearing what you think. I believe management is
currently open to either venue, and they are anxious to see a recommendation.

I thank you very kindly in advance for your responses, suggestions, opinions,
ideas, thoughts, recommendations.

Jackie DiGiovanni
Technical Communications
JDigi88 -at- aol -dot- com

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