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.

 

251.
#24307

The State of Navigation   (PDF)

How do customers expect to access online Help? Once in the Help system, how do they expect to navigate toward the information they need? In the absence of detailed research that tells us what customers know about getting and using online Help, we can look for clues in the marketplace. A survey of the Help systems in more than sixty Windows 95 applications (including those in the major suites from Corel, Lotus, and Microsoft) shows some clear trends. These trends can help us understand what customers are coming to expect from online Help based on their experience with other Windows 95 applications.

Elley, Frank. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

252.
#38839

Sticking with Obvious Information Versus Creating Information that Users Need

No doubt at some point in your life, you’ve clicked a help file and browsed around only to find that the information is too basic and simple to answer any real troubleshooting questions you have have. Through repeated experiences like this, many people come to believe that help is generally useless. This is just one example where I fail to find the right answer because the help sticks only with obvious information.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2013). Articles>Documentation>User Centered Design>Help

253.
#14811

Strategies for Producing Browser-Based Technical Documentation

This Technical Note attempts to provide a few good strategies for resolving some of the issues around producing and viewing Web-based technical documentation. The Note may be useful for engineers, technical writers and content producers who must wrestle with issues of producing documents such as ReadMe files, Release Notes, technical articles, and other forms of technical communication that land on the Web.

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

254.
#24302

Strategies for Using Information Types in HTML Help  (link broken)   (PDF)

Information types are a new feature of HTML Help, but they are not a new concept to technical communication. Information types are simply categories of information that can be assigned to a discrete piece of information so the information can be displayed or hidden, based on the category selected by the user. The goal of this paper is to get help authors thinking about ways that they can use information types to help their users filter, sort, and understand the structure of the information presented to them through online help.

Houser, Rob. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>HTML>Help

255.
#28961

Taking Risks with a New Online Help Tool

Some might not think that converting FrameMaker content into online help and user documentation would involve taking risks. In this article, we tell our story of what risks were involved with one of my recent projects, how we overcame them, and what benefits we reaped by using state-of-the-art technology.

Grissino, Ann-Marie and Rebecca McMurry. Carolina Communique (2007). Articles>Software>Help>Madcap Flare

256.
#29797

Taking Risks with a New Online Help Tool

Some might not think that converting FrameMaker content into online help and user documentation would involve taking risks. In this article, we tell our story of what risks were involved with one of my recent projects, how we overcame them, and what benefits we reaped by using state-of-the-art technology.

Grissino, Ann-Marie and Rebecca McMurry. Carolina Communique (2007). Articles>Documentation>Online>RoboHelp

257.
#32928

Technical Support: (Yet Another) Holy Grail

His own vendor conspiracy theories aside, Lou Rosenfeld knows of three main reason why technical "support" is often not support at all.

Rosenfeld, Louis. CIO Magazine (2000). Articles>User Experience>Help

258.
#37735

Ten Quick Tips for Project Managers about Help Content

Here’s my stab at the ten things project managers should know when working with technical writers. Imagine formatting these ten sentences in a neat little card that you periodically email to project managers, or that you give project managers when meeting them for the first time. I made them concise so that they’ll be read. These are the 10 concepts that all project managers should know about help content.

Johnson, Tom H. I'd Rather Be Writing (2010). Articles>Project Management>Documentation>Help

259.
#33608

Ten RoboHelp Tips You Won't Want to Miss

I've been using RoboHelp for nearly a decade now. I started off with an older Word-based version to create WinHelp, and now I work with the HTML version to create WebHelp for locally installed and server-based products. Here are a few RoboHelp tips that I've found useful in my day-to-day help authoring responsibilities.

HelpScribe (2009). Articles>Documentation>Software>Adobe RoboHelp

260.
#23910

Terminology Made Simple   (PDF)

This paper describes the types of terms that you should include in software product glossary and describes how to write definitions for these terms. It also describes a method for controlling word usage and managing terminology for software projects.

Sturgeon, Mary. IBM (2004). Reference>Style Guides>Glossary>Help

261.
#34063

Think Simple: A Fresh Approach to User Assistance   (PDF)

Online help. User assistance. That thing that pops up when you press F1. No matter what you call it, user assistance is an important element in the experience of a user. It can mean the difference between a frustrated user and a productive one. But is today's user assistance all it can be? Are we giving users purposeful information at the right time, in the most effective format, and ultimately in the way that they need it? Unfortunately, no.

Davis, Aaron and Scott Nesbitt. DMN Communications (2009). Presentations>Documentation>Online>Help

262.
#31974

Think WYSIOP, not WYSIWYG

Several years ago, someone used the term WYSIOP (What You See Is One Possibility) when talking about the RoboHelp HTML editor, because what developers saw in the editor didn't usually match the results. I had what I thought was an absolutely brilliant leap of logic ;-) a couple of months ago when I realized that today's WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) editors are really WYSIOP, because the results are determined by whatever layout template is assigned at the time the results are viewed.

James-Tanny, Char. Helpstuff (2006). Articles>Web Design>Document Design>Adobe RoboHelp

263.
#12969

Thoughts About On-Line Help  (link broken)   (PDF)

Shovelware is becoming the norm in computer software documentation. Many companies no longer furnish printed books with their products, and it’s usually impossible to produce (from the on-line help files) a reasonable facsimile of a coherently organized, double-sided, printed book with page numbers, running headers and footers, table of contents, glossary, and multilevel subject index. The current sad state of affairs is epitomized by the FrameMaker user manual and on-line help. In the last release (V5.1) of FrameMaker+SGML for which Frame Technology was responsible, the printed user’s manual was quite comprehensive at 900+ pages, and the on-line help was extensive, well-designed, and effective. But the Adobe-produced V5.5 user’s manual (including the separate “Getting Started” manual for FM+SGML) has 300 fewer pages, even though many new fea-tures (e.g., HTML and XML export) in V5.5 had to be covered in addition to all those features common to both releases. Not only that, but the effectiveness of the on-li

Emory, Dan. TECHWR-L (1999). Articles>Documentation>Help>Online

264.
#18325

Thoughts About On-Line Help   (PDF)

Shovelware is becoming the norm in computer software documentation. Many companies no longer furnish printed books with their products, and it’s usually impossible to produce (from the on-line help files) a reasonable facsimile of a coherently organized, double-sided, printed book with page numbers, running headers and footers, table of contents, glossary, and multilevel subject index.

Emory, Dan. InFrame (2000). Articles>Documentation>Help

265.
#35356

Three Decades of Research and Professional Practice on Printed Software Tutorials for Novices   (peer-reviewed)   (members only)

Provides a historic overview of research on printed software tutorials. Describes developments in design approaches, refinements in design, and user experience.

van der Meij, Hans, Joyce Karreman and Michaël Steehouder. Technical Communication Online (2009). Articles>Documentation>Help>User Experience

266.
#34064

Thriving on Ignorance

A short blog post that discusses why users are more interested in learning how to, and not what is.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2009). Articles>TC>Documentation>Help

267.
#27652

Tips and Techniques for Single-sourcing with RoboHelp X5

RoboHelp now offers a rich set of features for delivering multiple customized outputs out of a single project. This article by Matthew Ellison provides some guidelines and tips on using the key single-sourcing features.

Ellison, Matthew. WritersUA (2004). Articles>Documentation>Single Sourcing>Adobe RoboHelp

268.
#14620

Tips for the Help Developer: Reliability Testing   (PDF)

Walstad presents a process for reliability testing in the development of help systems. She offers tips for ensuring reliability in each of the three steps: designing, planning, and testing. This article includes a list of online resources.

Walstad, Catherine M. Intercom (2000). Design>Documentation>Help

269.
#21707

Tips on Online Help   (PowerPoint)

An overview of documentation development for online help.

Unni, Tharun Kumar. STC India (2003). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

270.
#29992

To TOC, or Not To TOC

Microsoft HTML Help is actually a suite of technologies. CHM is one part; the HH viewer (a cut-down Internet Explorer with CHM processing abilities) is another. To provide a Table of Contents (TOC) and index for Web-based Help (over HTTP), to support Web applications for example, there are two other Microsoft HTML Help components. One is an ActiveX TOC control, and the other is a Java TOC applet. While these components provide Web-based Help with a TOC, they do not allow context-sensitivity AND a TOC at the same time, because the TOC displays in a frameset.

HyperWrite (2004). Articles>Documentation>Help>Online

271.
#20007

Toil and Trouble: HTML Help and NetHelp

Toil and trouble. That’s what this year’s online help crystal ball predicts. It shows two flavors of HTML-based help and to make matters worse, their names are confusing: HTML help (which is not the same as HTML-based help) and NetHelp. Oh, me nerves. Well, let’s try to calm ourselves and explore these new concepts.

Grissino, Ann-Marie. Carolina Communique (1997). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

272.
#26204

Top Ten Blunders   (PDF)

Common goofs, mistakes, bloopers, mal mots, slip ups, lapses, oversights, gaffes, and 'foe paws' in online documentation and Help.

Horton, William K. III. STC Orange County (1998). Presentations>Documentation>Help

273.
#24290

Top Ten Blunders in Online Documents and Help Facilities   (PDF)

As a consultant I get called in after the wreck to figure out what went wrong. Across a wide range of industries and products, the same problems recur again and again. In this presentation, I’ll show you what these common problems are and simple ways to avoid them.

Horton, William K. III. STC Proceedings (1998). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

274.
#37301

Top Ten Things that Users Want to Do in a Help System

Here are 10 things that users want to do in a help system – or a library or a department store… Some of them are kind of obvious, but I think it helps to consider all of them and how they relate to functions and options in a help system. Which ones you want to offer depends on your users, your product and your tech writing resources.

Weber, Kai. Kai's Tech Writing Blog (2010). Articles>Documentation>User Centered Design>Help

275.
#29903

Transitioning Print-Based Training into WBT Delivery: Lessons Learned   (PDF)

This panel discussion will explore a specific project conducted by the Mercer Engineering Research Center (MERC) in which existing MERC-designed United States Air Force print-based training was rapidly converted to web-based training. Specific issues discussed are differences in design strategies for print and web instruction, development and authoring approaches, rapid prototyping, usability testing, project management concerns, and lessons learned.

Codone, Susan K. and Lance Stuckey. STC Proceedings (2004). Articles>Documentation>Online>Help

 
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