Manual Design Questions

Subject: Manual Design Questions
From: Paul Kent <pkent -at- Paradigm4 -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 2001 11:36:12 -0800

We are in the process of reworking the Word templates we use to create
Operations and Users Manuals. We are a mid-size wireless applications
provider and we produce manuals for both internal and external users.
Different user groups get different manuals that use different templates,
but we are attempting to create a single look and feel to span our entire
* The manuals are currently small to medium size (50 - 350 pages).
* The manuals are distributed via PDF files. The manuals are used
onscreen to some extent, but they are also likely to be printed out on site;
hence we find ourselves compromising between on-line usability and printed
out usability.
* There is a body of documentation already in use; drastic changes to
the existing templates risk eroding any brand recognition that our documents
have established with our customers.
* Is there a current consensus on serifs; particularly serifs in
headings, but also in titles, headers/footers, and body text? Again PDF
onscreen and/or laser printed are the target media.
* Is there a current consensus on chapter numbers in the page number
(that is, 4-3 vs page 15).
A related question: is there a consensus on mixing font sizes so that the
actual page number stands out more
(for example, 4-3 vs. 4-3).
* Is there a current consensus on chapter tables of contents; are they
a helpful aid to navigation.
* Is there a consensus on rule rules? Do they rule:} or ...:<? We're
currently using them to frame our content area and in a different way to add
a visual element to our cover design.

J. Paul Kent
Technical Writer
Paradigm 4 Inc.
mailto:pkent -at- paradigm4 -dot- com <mailto:pkent -at- paradigm4 -dot- com>

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