RE: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue

Subject: RE: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue
From: "Sharon Burton-Hardin" <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 7 May 2003 15:55:56 -0700

You can disagree if you want - and I am talking about consumer products, and
think you may not be - docs are part of the product, in the consumer's head.
Research also shows that users read the docs, or at least flip thru them to
find out if the product does something and then how to do it.

When Jane Consumer goes thru the docs that came with her TV and it seems
really hard to use the TV, she will return it and get another brand. And
then tell her friends that brand was not usable.

And other research shows that word of mouth is the way most consumers choose
a brand, all other things being equal. If your brother-in-law says that the
TV brand he just bought is a good one, useable, and fit to the purpose, then
you are far more likely to purchase that brand if you are in the market for
the item. And this holds out even more true as the product is more

Return rates are what happens when the user can't figure it out and support
can't fix it - if they choose to pay the money to call and most charge now.
For the user, docs are just about the first thing users experience about the
product. If the docs are cheap, badly reproduced, hard to read, or just
plain wrong, then consumers pack the product back up and take it back. And
purchase another brand.

High return rates are very bad and cut into the profit margins. Things that
cut into profit margins are bad and to be avoided. Making the product easier
to use is what docs are supposed to do.


Sharon Burton-Hardin
CEO, Anthrobytes Consulting

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-71429 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-71429 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of DaLy
Sent: Wednesday, May 07, 2003 1:29 PM
Subject: Re: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue


I disagree with you. Initially people choose a product
based on brand/name recognition, price and
compatibility. Then after buying the product a few
review the documentation (even fewer request the docs
before buying a product), the rest just use the
product - and if something goes "wrong" they RTFM.

If the documentation is good and they can "fix" their
problem without contacting technical support, they are
happy and may choose to purchase from that company
again. But, if the documentation is poor and technical
support stinks, they may never buy from that company

Docs do matter, HOWEVER usability is much more


--- Sharon Burton-Hardin <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>

> Docs matter. The myths don't help us. Docs are PART
> of the product.
> sharon


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Re: How Many Trees? (WAS: URGENT: Immediate ethical issue: From: DaLy

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