Online Help Documentation Project
In this project, you find a software application in need of online helps, plan and write three or more "topics" for that application, and then create an integrated online-help system for that application.
About This Project
The idea is to document three or more basic tasks associated with the software application, rather than all tasks and associated information. The complete document you write need not be over 6 standard printed pages.
Here are some ideas for this project:
- Go to the Internet and see if you can find shareware to download. For example, go to http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Software/ and browse the lists under Children, Shareware, Games, Freeware.
Of the items at Freeware Home, I recommend:
SnIco Edit, a free icon editor whose interface claims a nonexistent help file
Just Cursors, cursor editor that can be used to edit or create static or animated cursors
English2metric, a measurement converter that has an animated tutorial but no help (www.freewarehome.com has many converter applications: click Converters under Business)
Alarm Timer, click Date, Time Management under Business for this cryptic little thing
Calendar Pro, with no help
Memo Friends, stores phone numbers, addresses, birthdays and reminds (its "help" is completely feature/function oriented)
Gestion de Projet, a Gantt chart creator also with completely feature/function oriented
TinyPiano, turns your computer keyboard with no help whatsoever
Sayz Me Text To Speech Reader, an intriguing application that I could not successfully install nor check for adequate helps
Speaktonia, another text-to-speech program, whose helps are unavailable when I install.
- Go to http://dir.yahoo.com/Computers_and_Internet/Software/Shareware/ and browse through the shareware programs.
- Take a look at what is available at http://www.shareware.com/ The Home & Personal area has a lot of good possibilities. Try to find some useful little utility like an online calendar program, reminder application, online phone number/address book, biorhythms charter, fortune-cookie program, large-file-splitting program, or to-do list manager, Typically, because these are shareware items, the documentation is poor or nonexistent. Contact the shareware developer and see how you can work with that person to develop the documentation.
Here are the basic requirements:
- Select an application that is lacking online helps or whose online helps are inadequate.
- Document at least three topics related to the software application.
- Define the users of the application and their common tasks.
- Use task-oriented style of documentation for these online helps.
- Include screen captures that illustrate important points in the procedures.
- Create and use your own custom style sheet in this project.
- Use headings, lists, notices, tables, and highlighting as appropriate. You're not required to use the specifications, but use a good design and use it consistently.
- Plan appropriate navigation tools for readers of your online helps—navigation tools that will enable to get to the information they and help them if they get lost.
- Be sure to include an index, a TOC, and some related-information buttons. (You can see an example of this latter thing in the help modeling project.
- Include popups as appropriate (drop-downs and expansion texts are optional).
- Apply the other principles of good online design and good technical communication in general that you've read in the recommended chapters and books.
- Output that project to whichever target you prefer:
- If you create something like WebHelp or HTML5 Help, upload your project to a website. (I can provide you with a JustHost account for your website.)
- If you create HTML Help (.chm), remember to change its extension to .doc to get around the e-mail restriction.
- In an e-mail to me, either send the URL of your project or send the .chm file by e-mail attachment.
Note: To be safe, keep a safe copy of this and all other assignments. Expect to receive confirmation from your instructor that your e-mail attachments have been received. If you don't receive e-mail confirmation in 3 or 4 days, get in touch with your instructor.
Information and programs provided by firstname.lastname@example.org.