RE: "They don't need no stinkin' documentation..."

Subject: RE: "They don't need no stinkin' documentation..."
From: david -dot- locke -at- amd -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 29 Oct 2001 22:33:56 -0600

Bruce Byfield said:

>However, if you're writing for more casual users, then design could be the difference
>between them reading the documentation and walking away from all your hard work. It
>doesn't matter how good your content is if people can't or won't use it.

These days the biggest issue in the PC industry is how do we get phobic to use PCs and PC software. These people will not endure man pages. They will not tolerate what they feel is poor documentation. They are not motivated to learn or to wait. They don't want controls. They want to do their work. They don't want to do something, because the software insists on it. They insist on design.

Their insistence on design extends beyond manuals and help. They want the software tasks to be allocated to the software. They want to focus entirely on tasks from the automated domain, not the automation. They want defaults and power without all the feature bloating controls. They want embedded. They want a picture or a table that cuts a thousand words. They want a view, not a black box.

Sure the market for technical enthusiast technology will always be there, and a lot of us serve that market. But, the markets and audiences after that one still need good content, but the content changes and eventually, in phobic markets, better disappear almost completely.

When was the last time you set the top-end limit of your car's performance? Not lately. For the most part, you go out, buy a new chip, and pull out the old one, and press the new one into the socket. You need two pictures: one that shows you where the socket is and, another to show how the chip is oriented in the socket. You might need a few words about disconnecting the battery, applying heat sink, and not abusing the chip as you snap it into place. There is a lot of technology there, but it's embedded.

David Locke


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