RE: Making them read the documentation

Subject: RE: Making them read the documentation
From: sguttman -at- semantix -dot- com (Susan Guttman)
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 12:07:24 -0400

That subject came up when I started working with technical support in my
company. My response is the opposite of yours, though: if they're not
reading the Help, how can I get the information they need (as shown by tech
support email) to them before they call support?

I'm thinking of maybe having a quick start pop up when the software is
launched, or putting more detailed information on our download page, etc,

Bottom line: if they won't read the manual, what *will* they read? Figure
that out and you know how to get them the info they need.

Oh, and I'm not going to stop writing the manual. After all, we only hear
from the people who *don't* read it because they contact tech support; I'm
sure that there is a quiet majority of users who either figure it out for
themselves or who actually read the manual.

Bill S.

Sierra Godfrey cried out unto the wilderness thusly:

The question: how do you get those darn users to read your beautiful
technical documentation?

In my company, not only our users, but our installation people fail to refer
to the manual. I set it up to be either read, or quickly referred to. But
still, our installation people repeatedly ask engineering the most basic
questions - ones that are answered easily in the manual. For whatever
reason, no one wants to read it.

Maybe it's the format (in a binder--also offered online as PDF). Maybe
they're just lazy. All I know is, I can't seem to relate to them because I
personally read manuals and instructions when I have equipment that I need
to know how to operate.

I know you will all have different ideas for me, that's what I love about
this list, especially since I have trouble separating myself from the

This ties in with a bigger question: if they're not reading it, why is it
(or me) necessary? Can the answer be only that documentation is necessary
for those few people who actually do read the manual?

Sierra Godfrey


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Making them read the documentation: From: S Godfrey

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