RE: Customers who read manuals from cover to cover

Subject: RE: Customers who read manuals from cover to cover
From: "Glenn Maxey" <glenn -dot- maxey -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Sep 2001 09:53:13 -0600

> Warren wrote:
> ++++
> The tendency in our company was to undermine the value of
> documentation, by claiming that "nobody ever reads them anyway."
> All this changed when a high-level delegation went to visit an
> important customer in Japan, and found out that they have a
> team of engineers, who sit with
> marking pens and go through every word in the manuals,
> underlining parts they don't understand or which aren't clear.
> ++++

Not just the Japanese. I once had a Swedish co-worker who convinced me
to make a major change to the help system because he -- among other
excellent engineers -- liked to read software documentation from
beginning to end.

The change that he effected was a single browse-sequence that hits all
topics within the help file. _Most_ pop-up topics had to be excluded
(because the non-scrolling region banner doesn't exist), but everybody
knows that I hate pop-ups anyway :). I minimized my use of pop-up's to
definitions and put some "smart" controls on the browse sequences.
(Definitions that appear as pop-ups could also be browsed, but only
after all other topics so that the missing non-scrolling region didn't
jar readers and looked/was planned.)

Nowadays, all help systems -- WinHelp or HTML -- that I create have a
means to let the reader page through the documentation from beginning to
end, if they want to. I'm sure that having this capability has increased
the number of explorers who land on a topic and then go forward and
backward a few pages from there. It apalls me the number of help systems
that don't allow this kind of browsing.


A landmark hotel, one of America's most beautiful cities, and
three and a half days of immersion in the state of the art:
IPCC 01, Oct. 24-27 in Santa Fe.

+++ Miramo -- Database/XML publishing automation. See us at +++
+++ Seybold SFO, Sept. 25-27, in the Adobe Partners Pavilion +++
+++ More info: +++

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: RE: Baiting for the single source rant - Bill's last words this t ime around
Next by Author: RE: Single-Sourcing with FrameMaker: How do I do it? (long)
Previous by Thread: Re: Customers who read manuals from cover to cover
Next by Thread: Reference Manual

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads