RE: Binding printed doc

Subject: RE: Binding printed doc
From: Dannette Thompson <dthomps -at- foundationsoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Feb 2001 11:17:51 -0500

Joyce,
This is probably not the answer you want to hear, but I had this same
argument, and lost (voluntarily).

Before I arrived here, the marketing dept. had convinced the docs dept. to
move to a spiral binding. Just before we launched our new product, we had a
user's conference for the old product. I ran a focus group where every
single attendee came through to talk to me. I asked about the new binders
and what they thought. Every single person said they hated it. They liked
the three-ring binder (despite the fact that they had to go through and put
reinforcements on the holes on many pages). They liked the fact that they
could break up chapters and give relevant sections to particular staff
members. They liked the fact that they could photocopy the book. (We allow
them to do that.) And they liked the fact that they could 3-hole punch their
own notes and add them to the book.

I hate the look of the binders, too, and find them completely impractical
for my own uses,

Dannette Thompson
Technical Writer
Foundation Software, Inc.
The #1 Accounting Software for Labor-Intensive Contractors
The opinions expressed in this message do not necessarily reflect the
opinions or policies of my employer or coworkers.


-----Original Message-----

The management of my company decided LONG ago that they wanted our product
(mainframe & PC software) documentation distributed to our customers in
3-ring binders. It's been that way ever since. They like the way the binders
look on their bookcases. They think it's a *good* look.

I disagree. I think it makes our doc look temporary or, even worse, as
though it requires frequent updating (which it does NOT). I think that large
binders are unwieldy, they require too much desk space, they're a pain to
lug around, and they're a disaster when the darned pages fall out. I've
suggested going to a plasticoil (or similar) binding that would allow the
book to be folded back (so only one page is visible at a time). Management
thinks this doesn't look as classy, and they don't want to lose the
bookshelf look.

To further complicate things, our printing has been handled by our Admin
department, so I no longer have a personal relationship with a printer I
trust to counsel me on this. And our books range in size from a few dozen
pages to as many as 450 pages!

My questions:

1. How do you other Whirlers bind your documentation for distribution to
customers?

2. Do you have any suggestions for a compromise solution? (It must be no
more expensive than the 3-ring binders!)

3. Can anyone point me to studies that have been done about this? If I'm
going to make a change, I'll have to prove to them that the new look will
give our customers a positive impression!

Please copy me directly on answers, as I'm on digest. Many thanks!
Joyce

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