Re: On-line writing and one-sourcing

Subject: Re: On-line writing and one-sourcing
From: Steve Taylor <breakaway -at- BREAKAWAYNET -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 08:19:47 -0600

Reading with interest over the last day or so...I thought to add my quarter
to the discussion, especially since I'm taking this company to a one-source
documentation system.

One sourcing will not ever be a total solution. It will never be, "I've
written, now bam...I've got a print manual and an on-line document." Never,
never. The two mediums are too different and I suspect that the audiences
are a bit different as well. However, using "one-source" documentation,
especially if designed from a modular approach, can be very time-saving in
the long run, and makes the documentation easier to maintain.

But if you focus on the similarities between the two medium, as Bruce B.
suggests, then getting close to the goal of pure one-sourcing may be
achieved.

Keep the audience in mind. On-line help can be customed designed for
differing audiences, from beginner to advanced. Everyone should be checking
out the new HTML help systems. While Microsoft's HTML help workshop is
still in its infancy and quite buggy, there are also other tools on the
market. But the use of information types and interactive contents will be a
big help to users.

The days of big print manuals, at least here at Breakaway International (a
maker of POS systems), is over. We are now moving to small, getting ready
manuals, with the bulk on-line...Our studies of our customers indicate that
the bigger the manual, the less it is read.

We'll see how it goes.

Steve Taylor
Senior Technical Writer
Breakaway International, Inc.
staylor -at- breakawaynet -dot- com




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