A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

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RoboHelp is a Help authoring tool (HAT) created by the eHelp Corporation and now owned by Adobe Systems. The software is used by technical writers to create computer help files (documentation) in various formats.

 

1.
#32517

Accessible Context-Sensitive Help with Unobtrusive DOM Scripting

This article demonstrates two methods of calling context-sensitive help in a web form: the Field Help Method and Form Help Method, in which unobtrusive DOM/JavaScript is employed to achieve the desired result. It also serves to illustrate the separation of the Structure and Behavior layers of a web page. Graceful degradation is employed to make sure that the help information is accessible if JavaScript is disabled or not available in a user agent.

Palinkas, Frank M. Opera (2008). Articles>Web Design>Standards>Help

2.
#26860

Review: AcosHelp: Context Sensitive Online Help with PDF Files  (link broken)   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

PRC AcosHelp is the World's first 'single source' Windows online help system that allows you to use Adobe Acrobat PDF files for context sensitive online help. AcosHelp is very useful for Document Management systems, where the documents are stored as PDF-files.

Kudesia, Saurabh. International Journal for Technical Communication (2006). Articles>Reviews>Software>Help

3.
#35571

Adding Screenshots in Help Topics

Here are a few tips for adding screenshots to your help topics.

HelpScribe (2009). Articles>Documentation>Help>Screen Captures

4.
#37273

Adobe Community Help and AIR Help: A Disconnect?

I’ve used Adobe Community Help when trying to get answers regarding Creative Suite products. I like the emphasis on searching and the integration of results that aren’t within Adobe’s domain. I think Adobe Community Help is a great example of what help can be: pulling answers and information together from various sources and formats and then showing context in search results.

Minson, Benjamin. Gryphon Mountain (2010). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

5.
#35495

Adobe RoboHelp 8: Start Page, Project Title and Default Topic... Let's Get Them Straight Once and For All!  (link broken)

As I've continued to teach my online RoboHelp class to students who attend from all over the world, one recurring issue has been confusion over the following three RoboHelp features: the start page, the project title and the default topic. The three files/names are totally different, having nothing to do with each other, but are commonly confused. By the time you are finished reading this text, I'm hoping that the confusion is a thing of the past.

Siegel, Kevin A. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2009). Articles>Documentation>Help>Adobe RoboHelp

6.
#38496

Adobe RoboHelp: Synonyms Made Easy

Here is an example of how Search could fail. Your company Help System, a Policies guide, includes a topic concerned with contraband substances in the office. The word contraband is contained within the topic so the word will be found if users search for that specific term. However, a user who is curious about contraband substances might elect to search the Help System using another word, such as illicit. Because the word illicit isn't in the Help System, the Search will fail. There are a couple of ways to fix the problem. One way would be to add Search terms to the properties of individual topics. Another way, which I'll cover here, is to use RoboHelp's Advanced Settings for Localization to create a synonym (illicit) for contraband.

Siegel, Kevin A. I Came, I Saw, I Learned (2012). Articles>Documentation>Software>Adobe RoboHelp

7.
#33335

Alternatives to Software Documentation

Software documentation such as Help systems and user guides may be the best method of helping your customers to use your software effectively. However, one or more of these alternatives may be a better solution.

Unwalla, Mike. TechScribe (2007). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

8.
#35338

Analyzing Your Deliverables: Developing the Optimal Documentation Library

Web 2.0 includes: wikis, podcasts, blogs, widgets/gadgets, social networks … and combinations of all the above. Not everyone contributes equally – Creators (18%), Critics (25%), Spectators (48%). But all are important.

Bleiel, Nicky. SlideShare (2007). Presentations>Content Management>Documentation>Help

9.
#28905

The Anatomy of a Help File: An Iterative Approach

This article presents an approach to Help file design that focuses on creating a task-centered user experience and accommodates an iterative development strategy. This methodology allows the introduction of user assistance into early test phases--not only getting earlier validation for its accuracy, but also supporting quality assurance testing by serving as the test scripts for interactions with the user interface. This approach can also be a self-contained strategy--that is, one that allows an iterative approach to user assistance development even if the rest of product development operates on a waterfall model.

Hughes, Michael A. UXmatters (2007). Articles>Documentation>Methods>Help

10.
#36304

Anticipatory Search in Context-Sensitive Help

What if online help could be configured to be context-sensitive in a different way than usual? What if, when the user launches the help system, instead of opening to some assigned help topic, it instead runs a preprogrammed search on keywords assigned to that topic?

Minson, Benjamin. Gryphon Mountain (2010). Articles>Documentation>Help>Search

11.
#10701

Apple Guide Complete: Designing and Developing Onscreen Assistance  (link broken)

If you've been waiting to give your users more than just onscreen reference information, now you can with Apple Guide, Apple Computer's innovative help delivery system. With Apple Guide, you can produce guide files that actually lead users, step by step, through complex tasks and concepts. If you want to provide task-oriented, context-specific instructions, Apple Guide gives you the ease and flexibility to do so. You'll learn about the complete cycle of designing, scripting, and coding guide files in the four parts of this book.

Apple Inc. (1996). Design>Documentation>Help

12.
#20391

Apple Help and John Carroll's Minimalism  (link broken)   (Word)

This report gives a brief overview of minimalism, a description of an Apple Computer documentation project, and a summary of my findings. It also provides some of my and my Apple colleagues' recommendations to improve both the user's experience and that of the instructional designers working to write Apple Help content. Through the course of this report, I will provide support for my hypotheses that (1) the current Apple Help model is not a minimalist help system, but that (2) users of most Apple software would not be well served by such a system anyway.

Tevenan, Matthew P. University of Washington-Seattle (2002). Books>Documentation>Help>Minimalism

13.
#14344

Applying Research to Practice: Helping Users Find What They Need  (link broken)   (PDF)

Have you wondered why some documents succeed when others don’t? Have you been curious about the research behind the guidelines that you use? Are you ready for some new challenges and new ways of thinking about organizing documents for your audiences? Come participate in this demonstration/workshop on applying research to practice. We’ll concentrate on issues about how to help users find what they need in documents, interfaces, and just in time training materials.

Redish, Janice C. 'Ginny'. STC Proceedings (1997). Presentations>Usability>Help

14.
#37023

Asking for Help is a Productivity Tool

I know some people see asking questions as a sign of weakness or insecurity (and believe others will view them that way), and that asking questions can produce answers we don’t want to hear. Both of those possible results pale in comparison to the potential good that just sitting down and asking questions can produce.

Meloni, Julie. Prof Hacker (2010). Articles>Collaboration>Help>Project Management

15.
#37310

Asking for Help is a Productivity Tool

I know some people see asking questions as a sign of weakness or insecurity (and believe others will view them that way), and that asking questions can produce answers we don’t want to hear. Both of those possible results pale in comparison to the potential good that just sitting down and asking questions can produce.

Meloni, Julie. Chronicle of Higher Education (2010). Articles>Collaboration>Help

16.
#35344

Auswahl eines Help Authoring Tools

Checkliste der wichtigsten Kriterien für die Auswahl eines Tools zum Erstellen von Software-Dokumentation (Handbücher, Online-Hilfen) - sog. Help Authoring Tools, kurz HAT. Viele Help Authoring Tools können Benutzerhandbücher und Online-Hilfen aus einer gemeinsamen Textquelle heraus generieren (sog. Single Source Publishing).

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. (German) Articles>TC>Software>Help

17.
#35345

Auswahl eines Screen Capture Tools

Screenshots oder Screencaptures). Benötigt werden Screenshots in allen Formen von Software-Dokumentation, z.B. für Handbücher, Online-Hilfen, interaktive Demos und Tutorials, aber auch für Webseiten oder Broschüren.

Achtelig, Marc. indoition engineering. (German) Articles>TC>Help>Screen Captures

18.
#30388

Authoring for Electronic Delivery   (PDF)

Caterpillar is dramatically changing the way technical, product support information is authored. Book paradigms have been replaced by the more granular Information Element (IE) approach. The new integrated environment utilizes Unix based, TCP/IP connected, ECALS compliant tools on multi-tasking author workstations. Research data, in-process work approved IE's and relational indices are distributed to work group servers. Application software tools include a graphics editor and an interactive, context sensitive, SGML text editor. The environment is managed by a robust file management system that provides file tracking, revision control, workflow sensitive tool launching, burden planning and management reporting capabilities.

Hudson, Dave. STC Proceedings (1993). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

19.
#14837

Automating Development Tasks for a Large-Scale Help System

Although tools like eHelp's® RoboHELP® Classic can speed up and streamline the process of creating help topics, there are still many repetitive tasks needed to build a WinHelp system that supports a large, integrated application. This article summarizes one of the techniques that Fredrickson Communications used to automate the process of developing online help topics. Once the underlying structure and macros were in place, we were able to generate hundreds of help topics at the rate 15-20 per minute.

Lindsay, Bill. Frederickson Communications (2002). Design>Documentation>Single Sourcing>Adobe RoboHelp

20.
#20122

Basic WinHelp for Beginners   (PDF)

The first time you create a Windows Help file can be very confusing. This paper should help reduce confusion by explaining the basic WinHelp concepts and components, and then walking you through the procedure.

Van Sant, Carol J. STC Proceedings (1996). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

21.
#21479

Beyond Help: Making Help a Core Component of a Performance Support System  (link broken)   (PDF)

With the advent of HTML Help and the ability to embed Help directly inside an application, there's been an increased interest in creating Help systems that are seamlessly integrated with their host applications. By blurring the line between the application and the Help that supports it, and by developing Help that automatically responds to user actions, application developers and Help authors now have the ability to develop true electronic performance support systems.

Wexler, Steven S. ComponentOne (1998). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

22.
#30083

Beyond Help: Making Help a Core Component of an Electronic Performance Support System   (link broken)   (PDF)

With the advent of HTML Help and the ability to embed Help directly inside an application, there’s been an increased interest in creating Help systems that are seamlessly integrated with their host applications. By blurring the line between the application and the Help that supports it, and by developing Help that automatically responds to user actions, application developers and Help authors now have the ability to develop true electronic performance support systems (EPSS). With this new ability will come a paradigm shift in the ways applications are developed and documented.

Wexler, Steven S. STC Proceedings (1999). Articles>Document Design>Help>EPSS

23.
#29987

Beyond Software Manuals and On-line Help: Interactive Help

Software user guides have traditionally provided assistance when the user requested help. Context-sensitivity enabled help systems to predict the most appropriate topic to present. For Windows applications, the move from Microsoft WinHelp to the new Microsoft HTML Help format allows user instructions to be presented in the same window as the application. This offers technical authors some extraordinary opportunities to provide intelligent, predictive, interactive help without the user having to request it. In this paper, we will explore one of the first such interactive help systems (for the Archivist e-mail archiving software), and see where the technology is moving.

Self, Tony. HyperWrite (2003). Articles>Documentation>Interaction Design>Help

24.
#37937

The Blurring of the Lines Between the Web and the Desktop

The line between the desktop and the Web is slowly eroding. There’s more and more integration and interoperation between desktop and Web applications (not to mention mobile apps, too). And that has implications for technical writers.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2010). Articles>TC>Online>Help

25.
#34507

Bringing Help to the Forefront: Strategies to Increase the Usability of Your Software User Assistance and Your Product   (PDF)   (members only)

Makes the case for embedded help as one of the most effective ways to integrate help within an interface. Although it can be difficult, Bleiel illustrates a way to “elegantly implement and map embedded help.”

Bleiel, Nicoletta A. Intercom (2009). Articles>Documentation>Help>Usability

 
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