The links have been removed from this schedule; check back start of spring semester.
Online Help & Help-Authoring Tools (ETWR 2374) is a workshop-style course in which you study the evolution and function of online help; critique existing online help; learn structuring principles and navigation tools common in online help; create online helps using several leading online help-authoring tools such as RoboHelp, Flare, and Help & Manual; and write your own online help for a software product. This course is still a writing course: you'll focus on audiences, organization, content, transitions, format, and good writing in general
Getting organized. Please review the schedule, policies, objectives, and requirements for this course. Fill out an online questionnaire and write a brief personal memo that will be posted on our course website so we can all get know each other!
Pick your help-authoring tool. In order to choose between Adobe RoboHelp and MadCap Flare:
Notes. A few things to keep in mind.
Exploring the interface. Learn your way around the interface of the help-authoring application.
Course logistics. Learn how to log in to your JustHost account, access File Manager, zip your help outputs, upload them, extract them, and view them in a browser.
Simple help build. To get started with your online help authoring application, create a simple one-topic help, build and compile it.
Linking topics. Add topics to the help you just created and link them.
Touring the templates. We survey a few here, but try to look at as many as you can.
Adding targets to projects. Flare has a complicated system of templates, targets, and skins. If you get it, let me know!
Formatting topics. To get started with your online help authoring application, create a simple one-topic help, build and compile it.
Generating the TOC. Generate a table of contents (TOC) for your multi-topic help.
Creating and generating indexes. Learn how to set up and generate linked indexes in your online help.
Adding graphics and tables. Practice adding graphics and creating tables to your online help.
Help modeling project. Don't forget—last chance to send this in was due yesterday.
Task analysis. To develop online help that addresses users' needs, you must do a careful task analysis& #8212; in other words, identify those tasks that users want to perform using the software application. You then use those tasks to structure and write your documentation.
Basic page design. Study some of the standard specifications for headings, lists, notices, cross-references, tables, highlighting, simple typography and layout issues, and other. Explore what is common or standard, focusing particularly on page design concepts for written instructions and rhetorical strategies for writing effective instructions.
Brief procedure project. Get started on the brief procedure in which in one online topic you provide some instructions. Be sure to apply the guidelines on writing style, headings, lists, notices, and highlighting that you will study next week.
Brief procedure. Keep working on that brief procedure, which is due end of this week. Don't forget to do a good task analysis and to apply what you learned about basic page design. — due Apr. 1
Using stylesheets (CSS). Learn how to apply and customize CSS style rules.
Adding dynamic functions. Create drop-down text, expanding text, and popups for quick-access information in your online help.
Help formatting project. Design and create a set of helps using unformatted text.
Adding other media. Add animations of all sorts to your online help.
Using variables and snippets. Learn how to use variables for information likely to change and snippets for information likely to be repeated.
Help formatting project. Don't forget—this was due yesterday.
Importing help. Learn how to import other types of files into online help.
Conditional text: You can make one set of files support different versions using conditional tags.
Adding social media. Enable users to communicate with you and each other through your online help.
Final-project announce. Post details about your project so that the rest of us can see what you are up to!
Online help: final project. Keep working or get started working on your help project.
Online help: final project—first draft. Complete the first draft of your help project. I will review and get it back to you so that you can do one final revision.
Informal course evaluation. Help me improve this course.
What we did not cover. There is only so much time in a 12-week course!
Programs and information provided by firstname.lastname@example.org.