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userguide.txt

Gytis Jakutonis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 02, 2004
Posts: 76
Hello,

my userguide is only 150 lines long (up to 80 characters in line, ~7.5kb) - is it too small? some people mentioned userguides of 12 pages or smth like that - I'm a bit cunfused - is it necesary to write 12 pages in order to explain one screen with 2 business functions (search and book) and ~6 gui controls?
I have small sections on installation and setup, but I'm not sure about details like how to setup PATH and CLASSPATH - is it necessary?

thanks in advance
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11460
    
  94

Hi Gytis,

Probably the best way of determining whether your userguide is suitable or not is to try giving it (and your application) to an "end user" - someone who is not familiar with your application / it's requirements / how to configure it. Then see how they go with running it and using it.

But, you have to be honest about it - if they have a problem, don't lean over the desk and point out the one thing that will clear up their problem - go back and fix your documentation.

Regards, Andrew


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Gytis Jakutonis
Ranch Hand

Joined: Feb 02, 2004
Posts: 76
I already tried this option - I left my submission and intro (from instructions) to my wife - she had no problems with starting up and testing all modes. BUT I'm a bit concerned since she has master's degree in IT and works as net admin So the question is: which level does userguide need to address - total novice (which does not know what combobox means) or a bit experienced (which understands sentence 'run command java ... in submission directory')?
Andrew Monkhouse
author and jackaroo
Marshal Commander

Joined: Mar 28, 2003
Posts: 11460
    
  94

Hi Gytis,

I think it is logical to assume some knowledge of how to start applications, and possibly some knowledge of the business domain.

As I understand it, the intent of getting people to write user documentation is to show that developers do know that they have to write user documentation, and can do so. And if your wife could follow the instructions without problems, then it sounds like you are meeting these critieria.

You said you have about 150 lines of text - this would equate to about 3 pages if you did it up in a word processor. Sounds reasonable for the size of this project.

Regards, Andrew
 
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subject: userguide.txt