TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
You're lucky to have time to learn online help and plan it well. Jessica
Lange gave great advice--read AND follow what the experts say. I'd suggest one
more thing: Find a well-written online help file(s) and analyze what the author
I was lucky enough to start working on a well-done help system as it was being
prepared for its third release. Despite reading the books and having a fine
example, I still made mistakes. But, the excellent example helped me find those
mistakes. (I also have to give credit to the other writer, Kelly, who showed me
what I needed to achieve and helped me see where I'd missed the mark.)
I constantly check my work against the design and the style guide. On new help
systems, I take the time to design. Help systems ARE software systems, they need
to be designed as consciously as the software products they document.