RE: weight as measure (was recommended reading )

Subject: RE: weight as measure (was recommended reading )
From: jgarison -at- ide -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 15:34:40 -0400

My how times change ...

Years ago - about 1984 or thereabouts - there was a relatively famous
commercial for the Apple Macintosh on TV. It opened with a shot of an IBM PC
and the announcer said "Here's all the information you need to use this
computer" and then about a foot thick pile of manuals ka-THUMPs to the
floor. Then the shot switches to a Mac ... and the announcer intones "And
here's all the information you need to use the Apple Macintosh" as a thin
little Getting Started manual gently floats down.

However, I also recall being asked to beef up the documentation for a system
one time: "For $250, they expect more heft in the box than two diskettes and
a Quick Start guide."

I call it the Thud Factor. Nothing like a good solid THUD when the box lands
on your desk. You KNOW you've got something!

My 3¢ (and I remember when that would mail a letter!)


-----Original Message-----
From: Sean Hower [mailto:hokumhome -at- freehomepage -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, July 26, 2002 11:34 AM
Subject: weight as measure (was recommended reading )

Sean O'Donoghue-Hayes wrote:
Because when someone picks up a document they expect to see certain
sections, otherwise they might feel cheated or that the document doesn't
cover the topic adequately. ... It is similar to the right size for a
document....sometimes they judge it by content, sometimes by accuracy, and
ALWAYS by weight.

I vaguely remember reading a study that showed that people reacted more
favorably to large, heavy manuals than small, slim ones. Or maybe the text
I'm thinking of was just an observation taken over many years of experience
in the software industry. Now that I think about it, it may have been in the
gaming industry. Anyway, has anyone else read anything on this?

On an observational note, I can say that I have experienced this first hand.
I turned an 18 page manual (which was much less than a basic overview) into
a 400 page reference/user guide, people were impressed simply by the
increase in size (Then they read the content and were even more impressed
<patsSelfOnBack />. hehehe) On a personal note, that book made a healthy
sounding thud when it hit the floor. <sniff /><sniff />I was so proud that
my little manual grew up.

Sean Hower - tech writer

"Whatever you do, do NOT let your editorial decisions be made by the
squiggly spell-checking lines in Word!" ~Keith Cronin, Techwr-l irritant ;-)

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