Re: Are you debating the elimination of printed docs? (An idea...)

Subject: Re: Are you debating the elimination of printed docs? (An idea...)
From: "jane" <judydh -at- total -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 6 Jan 2000 15:16:29 -0500


You're thinking about eliminating printed docs. Do you do software? Is your
product vapourous? Or are you crazy?

Online help is always printable. Hover and tooltips are the only things I've
come across that are ephemeral. There is NOTHING like a good book to refer
to when you want to learn or when you need something to extrapolate from
when something is undocumented. It is what the user will be using if they
actually give a damn, so why decrease the quality (and the chance at
actually producing some <I>thing</I> in your tech writing life) by giving
them something to print out and lose, throw away, kill trees, be slightly
different from the next customer's build, be, in a word, forgettable?

Damn the cost, the user is going to be the one incurring it one way or
another. It is our job, coupled with a little marketing help and savvy, to
make our products justifiable, and good documentation is of enormous
importance to customer satisfaction. But then again, if you're working in a
produce-and-sell environment (rather than market-oriented environment),
you'll never be able to demonstrate that, even if you could prove it.

All docs should be online, my foot. And my Fluevogs make my computer run
faster.

Your management is probably out to business lunch if they haven't used the
product for years, but they are not out to lunch on having a good book to
refer to to learn something.

If challenge is what you're really looking for (and referring to, in this
query) in your life as a writer, make 'em throw away the three-ring or
cerlox model and challenge yourself by producing a printed and bound book.
Few enough of us actually get the opportunity.

End of editorial.

jane





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