TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
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.
Doc-To-Help Certified Trainer mailto:info -at- sinonim -dot- si