How to Create a Free Web-Based Tutorial for Beginners
Instead of handing out a printed tutorial, you can set up an online tutorial that resides on a website. The tutorial website can mimic a printed tutorial. The website’s homepage can function as the tutorial’s cover and introduction page and individual chapters can each load on a separate Web page. If you are creating the tutorial for beginners with very little online experience, add clear instructions throughout the website to minimize confusion. Unlike an e-book that people pay to read, you can allow free access to the web-based tutorial.
- Set up the tutorial home page. Type the title of the tutorial in a large, bold font and display an introductory paragraph about the tutorial contents that follow. Give brief instructions explaining how to use the online tutorial. If the tutorial supports a particular product, link from the tutorial home page to the product home page for more product information. You can also link from the home page to your company’s home page for reference.
- Create a left sidebar to serve as the Table of Contents that will display on all the Web pages. List each chapter in the sidebar and link each chapter listing to its own Web page. Unlike printed tutorials that list page numbers next to each chapter, Web tutorials link directly to each chapter.
- Create a Web page for each chapter. Use a large font for the chapter title, medium fonts for section headings and smaller fonts for paragraph content.
- Link from within each chapter Web page to other chapter Web pages when referencing. For example, if you mention an idea that you will elaborate upon in a subsequent chapter, create a link in the current chapter’s Web page directly to the subsequent chapter’s Web page.
- Add “Previous Chapter” and “Next Chapter” links to the end of each chapter Web page so that users can easily navigate through the tutorial.
- Make printable versions of each chapter by creating a Web page with duplicate textual content that does not contain the left sidebar. In addition, limit each line of text to 65 characters and use a black font on white background in the printable version. (see Reference 3)
- Create a “Help” page that explains how to use the online tutorial in detail. Include information on how the tutorial compares to a printed tutorial, how to link through to the different chapters and how to print out the tutorial. (see Reference 3)