Friday Feature – How Do You How-To?

The title of this Friday Feature almost sounds like an Abbott and Costello bit.  But with so many ways to get information, sometimes we need to know who’s on first.  No joke.  How are you supposed to know when you should use a How-To versus Online Resources versus User Guides?  Luckily, this is not a complicated comedy sketch.  Let's go through the options to make sure all of your bases are covered.

How Tos

Let’s start with the most basic documentation:  the How Tos.  These provide basic documentation from the activity.  You can access it from the Tools menu on the right side of your work space.  They are very handy, displaying the chapter from the User Guide that concerns that activity.  Essentially, they give you field level information with a short, very short overview.  They are designed for those who understand the process, but forgot how a particular field is used.

Online Resources

This is its own separate module (at the bottom of your activity tree) and contains a ton of helpful information, like Friday Features.  Applause.  But, it also contains a section called, Escape Guides.  These are the handouts that Escape likes to give to users during training and other sections of the documentation that all of us keep at our desks for easy reference, like Escape Keys and the Role Matrix.

Most of this documentation is in the form of flowcharts, giving you the big picture of particular processes, like the Requisition Life Cycle and Pay Day Processing.  My favorite are the table maps.  These show the primary tables used by Escape Online to control data, and how the data flows in and out of each table.  It is a complex graphic, but once you take a minute to study it, you will love it as much as I do.

User Guides

This is the whole enchilada.  There is nothing, I mean nothing, in the How Tos or Online Resources that is not also in the user guides.  You access the user guides from the Help menu.  The user guides displayed are based on your role.  This is where you want to go if you want to fully understand a record or process.  There are overviews, examples, a graphics that simple cannot be accommodated in the How Tos.  They are especially useful if you are having trouble sleeping.  Just kidding. :)

What If I Cannot Find What I Want?

One of the things I love about Escape is that we are very customer-centric.  If you cannot find what you want, shoot an email to your rep and it will be forwarded to me for resolution.  Seriously, every release I receive about 100 changes to the documentation, as small as a typo (dang it!) and as big as “no one knows what this means, can we please get more information and an example or two” (yikes!).

Never think an idea for a change is too small or too big.  I love writing and I firmly believe re-writing is essential to writing well.  And, that’s no joke.