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Durham e-Theses
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End-user documentation

Wilkinson, Paul Johnston (2003) End-user documentation. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The first and most basic problem with documentation is that the consumer of software applications does not want to use the documentation included with a software product for one or more reasons. Studies, and papers, have been done on the effect that documentation has on a user's satisfaction with a software application; its ease of use, how quickly a user can learn to use the application, and on how documentation should be standardized. The premise of this thesis is that an improvement to the software maintenance processes can be achieved by limiting maintenance requests to "actual” problems with software, versus "perceived" problems caused by inadequate end-user documentation. After analyzing the literature within the computer science communities on the software maintenance process, and the literature within the educational and psychological communities on learning, retention, and the effect of software documentation on the end-user, a modification to the Foster Model was conceived. This model incorporates the concept of an Interactive Documentation Program (IDP), which allows for the end-user to utilize end-user directed and task-based documentation to improve their skills with the operation of commercially available off-the-shelf "office application" software as well as in-house developed software of a similar nature. To ascertain the viability of this concept, a world-wide survey of end-users is concerning their needs, desires, expectations, and complaints concerning end-user documentation was conducted. Combining the statistical results of the analysis of this survey with the concept of the IDP resulted in a new visuaUy-based and task oriented documentation paradigm called hypervideo.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Date:2003
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:09 Sep 2011 10:02

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