RE: weight as measure (was recommended reading )

Subject: RE: weight as measure (was recommended reading )
From: "Gwen Fremonti" <gwen -dot- fremonti -at- primefactors -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jul 2002 12:45:44 -0700

Sean Hower wrote:
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.

I haven't read anything on whether people prefer (or think more highly of)
large manuals, but I'd think it depends on the person. Here's a true story,
related to me by one of our Tech Support people:

Caller: I need to know how to install the software.

TS: OK, I can help you with that. But first, did you not receive a manual
with your software? Installation instructions are on page....

Caller interrupts: Yes, yes, I have a manual but I haven't looked at it.
It's too big. I'm not going to use it. Just tell me what to do.

It may have had something to do with the fact that this person was being
told she *must* use our software and was annoyed about it. But, good grief!

(By the way, this document is just under 300 pages and a number of customers
have remarked that it is quite easy to use.)


Gwen Fremonti
Sr. Technical Writer

Prime Factors, Inc.
4725 Village Plaza Loop, Suite 100
Eugene, OR 97401
Ph. (541) 345-4334
Fax (541) 345-6818

"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons
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weight as measure (was recommended reading ): From: Sean Hower

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