TEXTnology Writing: On-Line Help and Electronic Books
For conventional software applications, users demand on-line assistance.
TEXTnology writers create electronic product introductions, traditional
context-sensitive help, computer-based training packages, and complete
electronic books. The most common approaches are:
- Windows Help
- HTML Help
- Electronic Books (including Adobe Acrobet PDF)
TEXTnology can readily maintain both printed and electronic output of your documentation. Rather than abandoning all traditional printed book support, we generate and compile printable documents in addition to a help system.
Planning an Approach
With both printed and electronic documentation, a primary development factor is the ability to move smoothly from text and graphics files to an on-line presentation.
The key goal for a TEXTnology on-line help project is to:
- Create a complete system for current and future documentation
with all correct files generated and formatted quickly and
- Design a system as closely compatible with printed hardcopy
output as possible.
A TEXTnology team is ready to develop either HTML or Windows help. Or, we can develop a combination of both. Prior to making this decision, we offer research findings and observations: On-Line Help Research
On-line help of any type should be a dynamic presentation of information. TEXTnology develops on-line help to include:
- Information logically organized into topics including overviews,
concepts and terminology, easy-to-follow tasks, a tutorial, detailed
reference information, and examples.
- Windows defined stylistically by the type information they present
(text, graphics, and images with "hotspot" links).
- Multiple windows defined by logical usage (such as a main
procedure window with secondary windows containing examples).
- Windows sized and strategically positioned to display information
while the user is performing a task.
- Windows designed to remain open, on-top, or automatically close
when they lose focus.
- Navigational mechanisms to access windows/topics quickly
including electronic index and search features for information
- Context-sensitive links available while the application is
- Ability to copy displayed reference information to the clipboard
and paste it into the application program.
For subsequent releases, you can distribute revised help files as part of the new software, bypassing the lead time required for printed documents.
Meeting Your Objectives
Most on-line help projects involve a customized, incremental flow of tasks. For example, when creating a Windows help system, we will:
- Review the development version of your software.
- Design a help system based on reviewed information, user needs,
and your objectives. The design will reflect the dynamic
characteristics of a help system readily available to each user while
performing any action within your software. Unlike simple page-to-page
movement within a printed document, the help system warrants a unique
- Convert all existing text files to rich-text format (RTF).
- Define text within the stylistic windows and create all
appropriate window links, tables of content, keywords, and navigation
- Incorporate all edits as specified by your representatives.
- Integrate information as a unified help system.
- Test and edit the entire system.
Context-sensitive access (an optional feature with on-line help) involves changes to your software. TEXTnology software developers can assist by writing code and assigning unique context IDs. Our developers will work with your team to ensure successful integration. Or, your developers can complete all coding and simply inform our writers of the unique IDs.
TEXTnology delivers a "complete" on-line help system, including all integrated files.
Technical Writing |
On-Line Help & Electronic Books
Multimedia Scripts |
Promotional Materials |
Web Sites |
Design Graphics |