A couple of friends of mine in the Microsoft Visual Studio Team System team are doing some ground breaking work to improve the customer experience with orientation topics. Instead of using them, they are proposing the use of something they call ‘scenario topics‘ to both orient the reader and set the stage for what follows in the documentation set.
In David Chesnut’s words, “To me, scenarios represent something fundamental. Documentation should map technology (e.g. work item lists) into the problem space the user is working in (e.g. to track project progress). These serve the same purpose as an abstract in a lengthy technical document: Telling the reader succinctly the key points of the content section so they can decide if they need to read any further.”
My feedback would encourage them to also consider, it they haven’t already, integrating the CRM team’s “Charts & Graphs program” to the scenario topics. This is discussed in Andrew Becraft’s “Worth a thousand words? Let us know!” topic on the CRM Team blog. As Andrew says, “… we know that different people learn differently, and sometimes an illustration can help explain a concept or process much more easily.”
Feel free to provide us with your feedback. This kind of work is all about making answers easier to find.