Re: online help estimates

Subject: Re: online help estimates
From: Mark Magennis <markmagennis -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 1999 02:39:21 -0800

I'm probbaly the last person you should listen to because I've never
estimated how long my help files would take to create. Or at least not
accurately! However, although there is not likely to be a single magic
formula, creating an explicit, detailed formula still seems like the
correct approach. As long as you:

(a) qualify it's predictions by clearly stating its premises

(b) adjust the formula as you go, in the light of experience

Using this method, you might not start with an accurate prediction but
will become more accurate as you go and will have a better start for
the next project.

The book "Developing Online Help for Windows 95" by Boggan, Farkas,
and Welinske has this to say:

For every command that does not display a dialog box, figure on 1
procedure topic.
For every command that displays a simple dialog box, figure on 3
procedure topics.
For complex dialog boxes, figure on 6 procedure topics.

I would advise you to create similar metrics of your own, make them
explicit, and keep testing them against reality, refining them, and

Good luck, and maybe when you've been through it you can post your
experiences to the list?

Get your free address at

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