Writing Helpful Help – A Minimalism Checklist

Written by Glenn Murray

User documentation is all too often written by programmers for programmers. It tends to focus onrepparttar product’s features, rather thanrepparttar 133508 user’s tasks. Generally, programmers aren’t inrepparttar 133509 ideal position to be writing user documentation. They’re too close torepparttar 133510 bits and bytes, and they’re too far fromrepparttar 133511 user. To them, whatrepparttar 133512 product can do tends to be far more important than whatrepparttar 133513 user can do withrepparttar 133514 product.

It’s a subtle – but vital – distinction. Research shows thatrepparttar 133515 key to effective user documentation is writing task oriented help. Even better, write your help according torepparttar 133516 minimalist theory. Inrepparttar 133517 documentation world, “minimalism” is a fancy word for a commonsense practice. In basic terms, it means write to your reader and keep it simple.

The theory itself has a lot of twists and turns. If you want to read a great – but slightly wordy – book onrepparttar 133518 subject, check outrepparttar 133519 book “Minimalism Beyondrepparttar 133520 Nurnberg Funnel”, 1998, edited by John Carroll.

Inrepparttar 133521 meantime, if you can tick every item inrepparttar 133522 following checklist, you’ll be well on your way to usable online help that both your readers and your managers will thank you for.

Helpful Help Checklist

1. Baserepparttar 133523 help on real tasks (or realistic examples)

2. Structurerepparttar 133524 help based on task sequence – Chapter headings should be goals and topics should be tasks

3. Respectrepparttar 133525 reader's activity – this is generally more about what you don’t do than what you do. Don’t wasterepparttar 133526 reader’s time by diving off into tangents

4. Exploit prior knowledge and experience – Drawrepparttar 133527 reader’s attention to previous tasks, experiences, successes, and failures

5. Prevent mistakes - "Ensure you do x before doing y"

6. Detect and identify mistakes - "If this fails, you may have enteredrepparttar 133528 path incorrectly"

Customise your Mobile Phone for Free

Written by Carl Harper

Hundreds of companies now offer yourepparttar ability to pay to download Games, Ringtones, Mobile Phone Wallpapers, Mobile Phone Screensavers, Operator Logos and more to your Mobile Phone.

Charges can vary but wherever you purchase them from,repparttar 133507 costs will rapidly mount up if you like to update your phone often.

There are utilities available viarepparttar 133508 web that will allow you to create your own mid files (Ringtones) and you can use any paint package to resize your favourite picture intorepparttar 133509 format of your phone to use as a background (for examplerepparttar 133510 Nokia 7210 can display jpeg pictures of 128 pixels by 128 pixels).

Also, websites such as www.c4rlh.com offer access to a multitude of free mobile phone files that you can save to your PC.

Once you have either created or downloadedrepparttar 133511 appropriate files to your PC, you can then transfer them yourself to your mobile phone by using one ofrepparttar 133512 following methods;

(Please note - Refer to your phone manual to ensure thatrepparttar 133513 file you are uploading is compatible with your phone.)

Data Cable - Via a data cable from your PC to your phone.

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