RE: Advocating Documentation and Support

Subject: RE: Advocating Documentation and Support
From: Joanne Meehl <Jmeehl -at- datum -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 15:11:40 -0500

<How far would making users pay for documentation go toward making tech
writers more involved in the development process and gaining us the respect
of SME's?>

With so many companies now offering documentation (PDFs) to registered
customers via their web site, charging users for it would, IMHO, seem cheap
and punitive. Heck, letting the customer download the doc saves your company
a whole bunch of money (printing, shipping, and so on). And perhaps you make
the online Help so good that users don't need the book.

To the part of the question that addresses gaining SMEs' respect: if we make
ourselves more technical by asking questions and continuing to learn, if we
learn about their tools, if we learn our own tools well, if we seek out
other ways to help make our product more understandable to users, and if
those users rave about the doc and Help, then respect will come. As a
relative newbie in the field, I've seen that when I do these things, the
positive nods and the kudos are there.

Trying to get respect by charging the user, it seems to me, is like trying
to pick up a blob of mercury: you just can't get it that way.



Develop HTML-Based Help with Macromedia Dreamweaver 4 ($100 STC Discount)
**New Dates!!** San Francisco (Apr 16-17), San Jose (Mar 29-30) or 800-646-9989.

IPCC 01, the IEEE International Professional Communication Conference,
October 24-27, 2001 at historic La Fonda in Santa Fe, New Mexico, USA.

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