Re: Overlap of on-line docs and printed docs

Subject: Re: Overlap of on-line docs and printed docs
From: "Hamilton, Susan" <shamilton -at- METASOLV -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 Oct 1997 09:22:35 -0600

Kathy King wrote:

I'm doing the on-line help and a contractor is doing the manual, and
we are concerned with overlap. We don't want to duplicate information,
and yet it seems that some information must be repeated in both
places.

I find this a tricky area. One thing that I find endlessly frustrating
is to spend a good amount searching in the online help for an answer
to something, and not finding an answer. Then (typically after I have
some kind of epiphany and think to do it), I go look in the printed
manual. The printed manual is an almost exact duplicate of the online,
except that it contains a few sentences/notes/hints sprinkled here or
there. The biggest problem is that some topics from the help are
duplicated word-for-word in the printed manual, and some topics from
the help have extra info that the manual doesn't have, and some topics
in the manual have extra info that the help doesn't have.

I guess my point is this. If you are producing online docs and printed
docs about the same subject or application, I recommend creating a
clear definition of each document and then sticking to it. I think the
distinction between each document also needs to be obvious to the
user. Don't make your user have to guess where the info is, and don't
force your user to read both sources because they are missing out on
valuable information if they read just one. I agree that there
probably will be duplicate info, but I think duplication should be as
minimal as possible--unless that the definition of your docs is that
they are the same.

Anyway, just my 2cents.
Susan




************************************
Susan Hamilton
shamilton -at- metasolv -dot- com
MetaSolv Software, Inc.
5560 Tennyson Parkway
Plano, TX 75024
(972) 403-8452
http://www.metasolv.com/
************************************


-----Original Message-----
From: Katherin King [SMTP:kking -at- BROOKTROUT -dot- COM]
Sent: Thursday, October 30, 1997 8:28 AM
Subject: Overlap of on-line docs and printed docs

We're in the middle of developing on-line help for a new software
product,
as well as the printed documentation. I'm doing the on-line help and
a
contractor is doing the manual, and we are concerned with overlap. We
don't
want to duplicate information, and yet it seems that some information
must
be repeated in both places.

Are there guidelines for deciding what goes where and how to avoid us
stepping on each other's toes/territory?


Kathy King
Technical Writer
Kking -at- brooktrout -dot- com

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