FWD: Self-explanatory installation

Subject: FWD: Self-explanatory installation
From: Anonymous Poster <anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Mon, 17 Jan 2000 07:38:11 -0700 (MST)

Dear Techwhirlers,

For some time now, my company has been producing installation manuals to
guide the user through each step of the installation process for our
These have generally taken the form:

Type this.
Click that.
Click Next.

for each step.
However, our current software is customised for each client, so for most
steps the instructions reads something like:
"Click Next to accept the default setting and proceed to the next step."

If they choose not to accept the default, there's rarely a way of
describing the other options to them without providing a whole load of
highly technical detail that they don't need.

For instance, for one of the installation steps, the associated graphic
has the text:
"Please enter the socket number on which the Authorisation Service will
listen for authorisations. Usually, this will be 2050."

What is there left for the technical writer to add? A discussion about
sockets? An exhortation to click Next?

Our installation guides can run to 30/40 pages, with most pages
containing just the graphic and one or two lines of text. I imagine this
must be totally tedious for the user, and I doubt if it's of much use
either. However, our managers don't want to do away with the
Installation Guides altogether.

Does anyone have any comments/suggestions on how to improve our
installation guides? Any ideas gratefully received.

Thanks in advance.

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