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Re: What is documentation?

From: Harvey Bingham <hbingham@acm.org>
Date: Wed, 03 Mar 1999 11:52:19 -0500
Message-Id: <4.1.19990303105833.00cc4520@pop.tiac.net>
To: Kitch Barnicle <kitch@afb.org>, w3c-wai-ua@w3.org
At 3/1/99 09:14 AM, Kitch Barnicle wrote:
>I've been doing more thinking about the documentation issue. I'd just like
>to clarify what we mean when we talk about documentation. Since many user
>agents don't come with manuals, I had been assuming that documentation
>includes an application's built-in help system as well as any print
>materials that may accompany a product. Is that a safe assumption?  Does
>the term documentation only apply to manuals? 

Manuals imply print versions to me. Print-only manuals seem by definition 
to be inaccessible for those who are blind. (or do we assume that
such potential users have access to scanners/OCR/text-to-speech systems?)
Online help is the only resource that is useful to me other than initial 
setup instructions. Main reason is online search capabilities to find things.

When I must depend on an index, I am at the mercy of the indexer knowing
my vocabulary as well as the authors. I must trust them not to selectively 
ignore key topics such as accessibility issues in NSNavigator. 

Anecdote: Kitch's suggestion about limits of NSNavigator Index obscuring 
how to turn images off. After about 5 minutes trying to use their index 
(trying images, graphics, loading, download, automatic loading, etc.) 
I gave up, and searched from the main menu to find preferences. I examined 
each of the choices, finally at the bottom was Advanced. Eurika! 
the first checkbox: 
    Edit=>Preferences=>Advanced=>Automatically Load Images

Once I found it, I unchecked it. Didn't seem to have any effect, since the
images on the refreshed page were still in the cache. Bummer. Weak
cause and effect test. Did work with different page. Finally.
I went back to the index and found "preferences, Navigator"
In the middle of 15 choices was "Automatic Loading". 

Again under personalizing Navigator, paging down linearly for 35 screens
(without a subindex) I found Automatic Loading described.

There was no useful content search available.

Moral: A review of any documentation should include probes for help with
common accessibility needs. 
>What about context sensitive help? Should the help system and any "manuals"
>be treated separately in regards to checkpoints for accessibility? 
I'd prefer they were integrated.


Received on Wednesday, 3 March 1999 11:52:44 UTC

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