RE: Re: Re: "If the docs are too good..."

Subject: RE: Re: Re: "If the docs are too good..."
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: 18 Feb 2004 20:14:30 GMT

------- Original Message -------
Wed, 18 Feb 2004 11:46:42 -0800 Chuck Martin wrote:

>That's all well and good, but when training and
>(especially) technical support are considered profit
>centers by the bean counters, there is little
>incentive to improve the product (and its usability).

Providing the user with complete documentation, tutorials,
etc., that make training and support unnecessary doesn't
provide that incentive either. The only thing that does
is a competitor, either one who's nipping at your heels or
one whose heels you're after.

>To use your example, if FrameMaker hadn't been designed
>originally by Unix geeks or if Adobe to focus on
>redesinging the product so that its functionality was
>inherently evident, then all that training and 3rd-party
>documentation would be needed a lot less. But it comes
>back to the training as profit center driving decisions
>about product design.

FrameMaker's design philosophy actually predates Frame's
acquisition by Adobe. The first Frame workstations (as
well as those of its original main competitor, Interleaf)
were delivered as turnkey systems. The user wasn't even
supposed to be able to install it, much less use it with
no training.

>Unless you're inplying that companies deliberatly
>short-shrift design and documentation to boost their
>bottom line from their training and tech support

It's only "short-shrift" if Marketing leads customers
to believe that they're going to be able to use every
function without additional training or support. The
buyers of systems like SAP or Oracle don't expect to be
able to shove a CD into their servers and be up and
running on their own, because sales presentations for
these systems emphasize consultation, customization
and maintenance/upgrade services as heavily as they do
the capabilities of the product, if not more so. But if
you're saying you think Adobe short-shrifts first-time
FM customers by telling them that the SW is easier to
use without the training than it really is and by not
making an effort to improve its usability, I wouldn't
argue with that at all.

Gene Kim-Eng

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