Appendix within a chapter

Subject: Appendix within a chapter
From: Maaike Groenewege <mgr -at- MEDIASYS -dot- NL>
Date: Tue, 29 Jun 1999 15:05:02 +0200

Title: Appendix within a chapter

Hi John

I'm documenting a similar piece of software at the moment (I posted some questions about how to handle the existing monster manual about two months ago). The software can be used and configured in about a million different ways and I was asked to write a manual in which all this functionality is present.

Apart from splitting up the already existing manual into a configuration and a reference part, I also created a very rigid structure in which every piece of information can be fitted. After some usability testing to find out which structure accomodates most information, the basic structure that I use now is

Introduction: intro into the software task and how it relates to other tasks
Steps: the easiest and most common way to execute the task
Functions: other ways of executing the task and background information on user level
More information: background information on system administrator level
References: other places in the manual where more info can be found

This way, even though the additional information is very extensive, the user will always know where in the manual he or she is at the moment and where to look for the information that he or she needs. An additional advantage in my case is that the document becomes more manageable, because only certain parts of the manual need to be updated. Also, parts of this manual can be reused in other manuals.

Hope this helps, if you'd like to see a prototype or my project plans, you can contact me off-list.

Maaike Groenewege
Technical writer
Mediasystemen, a Triple p company
The Netherlands
mgr -at- mediasys -dot- nl

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