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Suggested are 4 classes of documentation support:

  1. Reference Manual, discussing each feature/parameter/button in detail. Preferred formats: Slicer Wiki, maybe PDF
  2. User Manuals, discussing the main functionality from a case-point of view, formats: Slicer Wiki, PowerPoint.
  3. Background Tutorials, explaining the basics of registration, formats: PowerPoint
  4. Training Video Tutorials, formats: video files (quicktime, WMV, mp4 , Flash), optimized for streaming or download

Training Video Tutorials

  • An example of the features/character of a video tutorial is here:
  • video tutorials have become a popular and widespread form to document GUI interactions, particularly tutorials
  • they can have almost the quality of direct tutoring
  • they are compact in length and filesize (because the changes are local and small over time, MPEG compression is very effective with little quality loss), which makes them ideal for online distribution
  • movie viewing capability is mainstream, i.e. all OS will have this capability, viewers can be downloaded for free
  • the audio track can provide main instructions, motivation, commentary and an abundance of detail information at the right juncture, something very difficult to provide in other formats without overloading a tutorial
  • the step by step interaction is captured unambiguously. We do not spend a lot of time and space in showing slides with screen captures.
  • since they are easy to make and great software is inexpensive, potential use even for developer communication can be considered, e.g. to document complex bugs
  • they have a low usage threshold, i.e. users are more inclined to watch a video than to dig through a power point presentation
  • they are not all that useful for reference or main documentation material, e.g. a tutorial on main registration concepts is probably still better in PPT.

Ideas Linked to Developent Efforts

  • direct links to Reference Manual from Widget tooltips?