Team - Is there such thing as a guidelines document for creating Help? I have a software vendor developing Help for me (with RoboHelp) for the IT system they are creating. My concern is they aren't using any sort of recommended format. It just feels wrong. Any suggestions??
Not really as it depends entirely on what the requirements are. RoboHelp has a number of output formats it can create as listed below:
Can you give us an idea of which one they are creating and what is wrong with it? Maybe it is just a case of someone giving them a steer on what is required by way of appearance, style, etc.
Thanks for the response Andrew. At the moment they are doing a direct copy and past of the user manauals, including all screen shots. We have requested context sentive help that the using can access while they are in the application. Does this sound right to you? Also, we have two different formats for our manuals. We have been told that the format in help will be different depending on which manual is being copied.
It was Colum McAndrew who replied to you. I blame his father for causing the confusion.
It is common for OLH to be created in a way that also generates a manual. How useful that is depends on the volume of text and the audience. If it is a complex application that can be configured in a zillion ways, then it is likely an app for a large organisation and someone there will want the complex explanations to help them write internal procedures. After that then it depends on whether the OLH is required to be exhaustive or whether separate training is available and the help is really an aide memoire.
Sometime an old fashioned approach is still good, sometimes it isn't.
Your knowledge of the users and what is being described has to be how you assess whether the OLH is fit for purpose.
See www.grainge.org for RoboHelp and Authoring tips