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Perversely enough, this sounds like a WONDERFUL situation. The software may
actually include the basics of the documentation--as it should in my
opinion--rather than leaving it to a manual that may or may not (too
frequently) be used to assist in the installation.
I think this is a marvelous opportunity for you to let the software do the
grunt work (as you put it "Type this. Click that. Click Next.") and you can
concentrate on explaining the customizable parts. Since it sounds like the
software can take me through the basics of the installation without my
having to resort to the Installation Guide, you can focus on explaining the
effects of taking non-standard paths. (Why is 2050 the usual port? What
happens if I check something else? How can I customize this installation to
meet my specific needs?)
I realize it might mean you have to take a different approach to your
installation documentation, but I think your users might find it well worth
> 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?
> Does anyone have any comments/suggestions on how to improve our
> installation guides? Any ideas gratefully received.
> Thanks in advance.