Organization of User's Guide - Thanks

Subject: Organization of User's Guide - Thanks
From: Donna Marino <dmarino -at- DECISIONISM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 13 May 1998 15:35:09 -0600

Last week I asked for advice concerning the organization of a user's guide
that I am writing. My problem was where to place the conceptual

The majority of respondents thought the conceptual info should be placed in
one chapter, at the beginning of the guide. Some suggested calling that
chapter "Theory of Operation" or "Getting Started." Everyone suggested
including lots of references to the conceptual chapter so users would know
where to find it, if they wanted to read it.

I also received some other good suggestions, which I'll summarize:

Put the conceptual info in an appendix.

Put the relevant concepts at the beginning of each chapter.

Put the conceptual info in with the procedures, but format the concept info
differently (e.g., shaded boxes, borders around concepts).

Put the procedures and strategic info in online help and put only the
concepts in a paper guide.

Put all the concept info in a separate chapter at the beginning of the
guide, then repeat individual concepts before each related procedure; the
concept info in each individual chapter would be a subset of the main
conceptual chapter.

If the concepts are closely related to the procedural steps, put the
conceptual info before the procedural steps. Otherwise, incorporate the
information into each individual chapter.

Thanks to everyone who responded. All of your suggestions were very

Donna Marino
dmarino -at- decisionism -dot- com

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