The manual I chose to review was the help manual for Outlook 2003. The layout for this manual is actually very effective and clean. Although, I think the way it is accessed might need a little bit of work. Having to jump through a few hoops to actually access the manual isn’t very friendly.
The layout of the help pages is very clean. Though they are somewhat lacking in presentation. Most of the help pages are very basic and standard text. There isn’t much in the way of images until you delve into the online help itself. This I think is one of the negative things that the Outlook help file has going for it.
Regardless of the image, the layout of the manual is very effective. It does what it needs to do, which is to offer help to people using the email client for the first, or 100th time. What it lacks in style, it makes up for in sheer volume.
This is one area where the user manual really shines. The sheer amount of content is staggering. I didn’t even realize there could be so much content for an email program. Microsoft has taken almost any possible question a user can think of, and answered it. This manual could honestly be considered one of the most comprehensive and extensive manuals I have read.
Now of course, the amount of content could also be seen as a real downfall. With the sheer amount of content, it could be enough to scare off first time users. My suggestion would be to have the content broken out a little more. What I mean is to have “advanced” help be in a separate are then say “novice” help. That could really make the content of this manual shine even more.
This is another area where this manual once again shines. Each section is broken out into smaller subsections. Then those subsections are almost divided into FAQ type questions. This is actually a very good approach. The reason for that is because, when looking for a certain topic say “sending emails”. You don’t want to have to wait through...