Re: User and Administrator guides

Subject: Re: User and Administrator guides
From: Chris Kowalchuk <chris -at- BDK -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 11:21:31 -0400


I think you are already mostly doing the right thing. It might help to
think of the subject matter more in terms of tasks, rather than who is
performing the tasks. If the role difference between administrator and
user has become unclear, that need not affect your software/manuals. I
think you can still reasonably divide your manuals between, say,
"administrative tasks" and "daily tasks". As long as there is some
fairly evident way for users to determine which type of task they are
performing (maybe a table or chart in the front of each manual--with
some jobs, I found it helpful to include a few pages explaining how the
whole documentation set worked, and where to find what, as front matter
common to every manual in the set), then dividing your documentation
into a couple of broad categories still seems useful to me. Also, by
keeping the task categories clearly divided, and having some kind of
reference area for telling, generally, what information belongs in each
category, you can probably avoid the extensive cross-referencing you
refer to as well.

On the other hand, if in the course of regular use, a user would have to
keep flipping between manuals because, in fact, adminstrative tasks
really aren't (I've seen software like this, and it was a nightmare to
document), then you need a reorganization, either of the software, or
the manual, or probably both.

Chris Kowalchuk

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