Re: Usability: Tutorial *chapter* or *manual*

Subject: Re: Usability: Tutorial *chapter* or *manual*
From: Andy Carroll <acarroll -at- WEB -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 17:25:53 -0700

>So here's the problem. I'd like the tutorial to be a separate manual,
>sort of a "Learning Product X" manual that the user can choose to go
>thru or not. The User's Guide, the *other* manual, will be more like
>a reference guide/user's guide sort of thing...
>Sue Heim

The best parallel to this sort of thing that I am familiar are the
manuals for a Macintosh scripting application called OneClick. It lets
you set up palettes of buttons with predefined functions, to set up
buttons with recorded keystroke actions in them, or to set up buttons
with more or less advanced scripts you can write (like simple programs).

What they did was create two manuals. The first covering installation and
the use of predefined and button, and how to record simple scripts. This
book all users would read. The second book was a reference guide to the
scripting language. Many users probably would not read this book or use
the more advanced functions; on the other hand, those who use the product
extensively end up using the second book exclusively. This turned out to
be an excellent solution.

I would usually recommend separating the learn-to-use-the-basics manual
from the detailed-occasional-reference manual. It would depend, however,
on how frequently people will use the product. If it is used everyday,
then they won't likely need to look up basic stuff once they learn the
program. If it is used infrequently, though, the reference guide would
have to cover more of the basics.


Andy Carroll acarroll -at- web -dot- net Vancouver, Canada

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