Re: embedded help (was PDF vs. paper)

Subject: Re: embedded help (was PDF vs. paper)
From: Sergej Rinc <info -at- SINONIM -dot- SI>
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 21:11:55 +0100

>From: Laurence Burrows <burrows -at- IBM -dot- NET>
>-- if you're working with a product that has several dialog boxes up at any
>given time (PhotoShop, Illustrator, Quark, FrameMaker, etc.) and you need
>information about how to use a feature, then there is no damn screen
>real-estate left to both display any type of online help (pdf, winhelp,
>htmlhelp) *and* follow the instructions.

How true - and this is exactly the new trend in help (embedding help into
dialog windows/boxes directly). I don't want to start a new thread here but
some of the new HAT products are definitely the way to go - for example (as
discussed in one of Winhlp-l messages):
HelpXtender from WexTech, (http://www.wextech.com),
eAuthor Help components (http://www.hyperact.com),
or CHHCtrl (http://www.keyworks.net/code.htm).

Unfortunatelly they are just for (MS) HTML Help - more or less tied to
Windows platform - but on the other hand this HTML help system (notice small
cap for help) at least works quite acceptable if compared with other
competitors (JavaHelp, NetHelp, Oracle Help for Java).

>The only example I can recall where you *can* do both is the 'expert' help
>for solving resource conflicts, memory problems, etc. from Start > Help >
>Troubleshooting... which uses small modeless windows -- definitely not the
>norm in applications software.

Really not - but it should be. Various solutions for nice popup help do
exist - authors and technical writers would just have to use it (more).
Usually time deadlines don't allow to really tweak an online documentation
to be really usable - and not clutter the screen.

Sergej Rinc
Doc-To-Help Certified Trainer
mailto:info -at- sinonim -dot- si


From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=



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