ROI of Online Help Systems

Subject: ROI of Online Help Systems
From: Peter Collins <peter -dot- collins -at- BIGFOOT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 6 Nov 1998 11:17:58 +1100

<I'm trying to justify the cost of replacing paper manuals with online
1. Cost the pre-press, platemaking, printing, binding and distribution
of your last major print run. I would expect it to be in the tens of
thousands of dollars, at least.
2. Cost the replication cost for the on-line version (zero if included
with an outgoing product CD) for a similar number of copies.
3. Cost the conversion from text to on-line.

You don't say which on-line route you are going, or what form your
manuals are in or the nature of their structure.
If they are in Word6, if they make sensible use of styles and default
heading levels, and if you are going to Winhelp (*.HLP) there is a $400
product noted below, that will do a brilliant, automatic conversion. It
does have USA representation, probably noted on the web site, otherwise
email them for details

Look at whose product HDK (help
developers kitset) can produce Winhelp or HTML from absolutely
standard Word files. In doing so it exploits normal Word document
features such as heading structure, index mark-up, cross-references
and footnotes. these are converted to on-line table of contents,
on-line index, hyperlinks and pop-ups. The document can be printed in
the usual way, or accessed in other ways such as program-context help
or on the web as inter-related pages - you choose. If you alter the
source you only have to recompile to help and/or HTML.

I've used HDK for years. You can do many clever things with it if you
depart from SSD. For your purposes, however, it will import and
process any standard document. Of course, if your text is well
structured and makes disciplined use of styles and reference tools,
then it will convert well. If not - well, a compile is so quick you
will soon see where you have a little work to do, and will soon have
those problems solved.

HDK includes extensive on-line documentation about both the principles
and practice of using SSD.

The HDK user group forum is at Majordomo -at- hilink -dot- com -dot- au to whom I think
you send the message 'subscribe hdk-l' (that's a lower case L).
Peter Collins, VIVID Management Pty Ltd,
26 Bradleys Head Road, MOSMAN 2088, Australia
+61 2 9968 3308, fax +61 2 9968 3026, mobile +61 (0)18 419 571
Management Consultants and Technical Writers
email: peter -dot- collins -at- bigfoot -dot- com ICQ#: 10981283
web pages:

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