Re: 'Old fashioned' Tech Writers

Subject: Re: 'Old fashioned' Tech Writers
From: Susan W. Gallagher <sgallagher5 -at- cox -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Jul 2004 13:32:15 -0400

On the subject of MS removing unused topics from the
documentation, don't assume the decision is in any way
related to a logical consideration of user needs and wants.
(Not that anyone would blame MS for that, anyway.) ;-)

When MS introduced Win95 and WinHelp 4.0, I had the
opportunity to attend a help kick-off seminar at the MS
campus. At the seminar, the help authors talked about their
delivery requirements and that their decision to exclude
graphics in the online help was the result of their
determining the best use of the limited space they were
alotted on the installation CD. It was a question of space
and space only -- but by 1996, the techwriting industry had
determined that MS must have had a good reason to leave out
graphics so graphics should no longer used in online help.

I see the same thing happening here. The product must fit on
a single CD and the code is getting bigger, so the docs
must get smaller. They scrubbed the graphics a long time
ago, so the next thing to go is the unused and little used
info. After all, it's still prolly burried in the MS KB, so
it *is* still available; it just isn't a key-press away

Please let's not turn this into an industry trend or any
more than what it acutally is -- an off-the-wall delivery
requirement based on a specific company's situation that
has absolutely nothing to do with our delivery requirements,
our books or help files, and our users.

my two cents.
-Sue Gallagher

> > Ah, I think I do recall that now. But, that implies that the info was
> > written. ;-) Also, there's a difference between documenting everything
> > and delivering what's being used. I don't recall who posted that
> > scenario, but by the same token, is there evidence that info that was
> > omitted due to measured non-use may have been added back in upon user
> > request?


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