I N T R O D U C T I O N
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Software user Documentation: A How To Guide for Project Staff is a detailed reference guide to the preparation of effective user documentation for computer software applica-tions.
It is intended for people who wish to develop software user documentation. The format and arrangement of this manual re-flects the principles outlined within it - it 'practices what it preaches'.
No prior knowledge or experience of user documentation writ-ing is assumed. The manual is designed to equip a person with at least average written expression skills with a blueprint of how to prepare a software user manual. Provided the person is prepared to follow the instructions through to completion, the result will be an effective piece of documentation.
It can be used by practicing user documenters and technical writers as a checklist of what to include in a piece of documen-tation.
The information given in this manual conforms with the interna-tionally recognised IEEE Standard 1063 which relates to the requirements for software user documentation.
S O W H A T M A K E S A N E F F E C T I V E M A N U A L ?
Organisation - Good manuals are well-structured with comprehensive table of contents and index.
Content - The material focuses on user tasks, provides clear instructions and is concise.
Appearance - The presentation is attractive with plenty of white space, and are packaged in booklets that are easy to use.
Language - The text is easy to read and aimed specifically at the users.
What to Avoid - Users dislike manuals that are: inaccurate, contain too much detail, talks down to people, is too formal, is poorly presented and/or organised.