RE: Making them read the documentation

Subject: RE: Making them read the documentation
From: "David Berg" <dberg -at- dmpnet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 25 Apr 2001 11:26:17 -0500

How to make them read the documentation? Bottom can't. And as
Susan said, the ones that call for technical support are usually the ones
that don't read the manual.

There's only so much you can do. personally I favor making the manuals more
readable by using a friendlier and less formal writing style. The online
documentation that Andrew Plato did for BlackICE Defender is a good example
of this. It gets the point across well, but it has a touch of personality
and frank wit that keeps it from being dry and boring.

Aside from other good technical writing practices, such as good organization
and such, it's pretty much out of your hands. You could start charging for
tech support, so that people would look at the manual before paying for
support, but that's probably not the best option. By the way, doing this
would not be to get people to simply read your manuals. It would be to help
pay for the support your company offers, after they already paid for decent
documentation that answered the customers questions. One other option would
be to encourage your tech support folks on the phone to routinely tell
people that their answer can be found on page XX of the manual they received
with the product. Hopefully a few customers will eventually get the idea.
Yeah, I know it's manipulative. Whatcha gonna do 'bout it? :)

David Berg


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RE: Making them read the documentation: From: Susan Guttman

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