Using functional specifications as help -Reply

Subject: Using functional specifications as help -Reply
From: Carol Van Natta <CVANNATT -at- ITC -dot- NRCS -dot- USDA -dot- GOV>
Date: Thu, 19 Feb 1998 11:22:09 -0700

Audience is the key here.

In my experience, functional specs are written for
*programmers* so they'll know how the program is supposed
to operate. Online help, on the other hand, is written for
*users*, telling them as clearly and succinctly as possible
the process of getting a task or job done, sometimes
involving several screens/modules/units.

Around the shop I'm in, the functional specs are sometimes
150+ pages of excrutiating detail, and would be abominable
to have to wade through, and still probably wouldn't tell the
user what s/he wanted to know.

>>> Barbara Holcombe <bholcombe1 -at- JUNO -dot- COM> 2/19/98
8:14 am >>>
Hello everyone,
I searched the archives for this one, but there were 220
topics to look
at so I thought I'd send my question to Techwr-l.

Our company develops broadcasting software and I write the
online help
for the software. There has been some debate at our
company as to whether
or not our clients can use functional specifications to help
them use our
software. I guess this would be a replacement for the online
help we are
currently writing. My feeling is that functional specs are too
technical
for clients and they do not tell the clients how to do the
things they
need to do. I was wondering if anyone out there has had any
experience
with this.

I appreciate any help you can give me.

B. Holcombe

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