Re: The demise of the printed manual?

Subject: Re: The demise of the printed manual?
From: Scott Turner <sturner -at- airmail -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Apr 2001 08:47:06 -0500

I think it depends a great deal on what your product is and how it is used. Online help is very useless to an electrician installing a piece of communications equipment. On the other hand, many programmers would rather use their computer to reference material.

The bottom line really becomes this: are you willing to run the risk of aggravating your customers by forcing them to assume your printing costs? Basically that is what you are doing. And while I have noticed that many programmers say that they like to have an online reference, most end up printing it out so that they can read it.

One of the reasons that I do not like Microsoft products is that I cannot get a physical reference or user manaul. The Help files that they provide are hard to use, and not particularly useful or informative. And if you are using a 15-inch CRT you do not have the real estate on the screen to effectively manage both help screens and applications.

Besides, all I get are fingerprint smudges on the screen when I try to hold my place as I flip between two or more references in the Help files.



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