Re: Swaggin' for Dollars

Subject: Re: Swaggin' for Dollars
From: Damien Braniff <dbraniff -at- iss-dsp -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 07 Apr 2000 14:22:28 +0100

Eric Ray wrote:

> "Which? Should you treat them as idiots _OR_ as individuals who know nothing
> about your topic? There's a huge difference, and it's the difference
> (in my case), between ruining a customer and keeping one."

Perhaps idiots was the wrong word but it's what I was told all those years ago and I
remembered it. Of course Eric's right that it's a specific lack of knowledge, and we
all suffer from that in one area or another, not general stupidity or at least I hope
not in most cases!

> As for the assertion that the more experienced users getting the information from
> skimming this is based on (limited) feedback from users. Good reports from novices,
> some grumbling from top end users about it being too simple in places but they did
> find everything they needed - good index (generally!) helped them zero in on what
> they were looking for. No complaints that users couldn't find the information they
> needed.

> Not an ideal situation and I've used two methods to get around the problem at
> different times:

1 Stated up-front that it is assumed the users have reached a certain level of
competentcy (familiar with Windows or whatever)

2 Split the documentation in two - producing a basic User Guide based on the
day-to-day usage. Here the info is all 'how to' and can be used by virtually
anybody. The second doc is essentially a Reference Manual geared towared the more
experienced user.

Again these seem to work reasonably well from the feedback received via tech
support. We've even tried to tailor the help to suit the end user as well with
different versions of the help linked to the logon privileges of the user. This is in
the early stages as yet but initial response is fairly favourable - have to wait and

Damien Braniff
Damien Braniff
Technical Author
Integrated Silicon Systems Ltd. Tel: +44 28 90 50 4000
50 Malone Road Fax: +44 28 90 50 4001
Belfast BT9 5BS Web:

Re: Swaggin' for Dollars: From: Eric Ray

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