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Bill Swallow said...
> I'm interested in cutting down the number of pages in our printed
> manuals in favor of electronic delivery (PDF, HTML, c-s Help systems,
> etc.). I wanted to get a feel from people who have done this as to
> what the customer reaction was. Please don't reply with comments on
> the value of print and so forth (at least not to this thread)... I'm
> just looking for customer reactions. We're doing our own audience
> analysis, content analysis, and so forth, but having some outside info
> will also help in our decisions.
I work mainly on in-house documentation for the Engineering, Technical
Support, and Installation teams. We are exploring moving away from
static (PDF and printed documentation) to more dynamic (web-based)
because most of our "customers" are sitting in front of a computer or
have access to computers. We've recently found that more and more
installers have laptop computers permanently mounted in their vehicles
(similar to the setup many metro police departments around the country
now have in their cruisers) which they use to retrieve everything from
driving directions to scheduling information to product documentation.
Our main goal is to cut down on "physical clutter." As with most growing
companies, desktop real estate is generally shrinking, but monitor size
(and number per computer) is increasing--thus the more we can put on a
"virtual" desk, the less we have to clutter a physical one.
Generally our (internal) customers are enthusiastic, but many hope there
will be an option to "print a copy if I want one" which might mean
increasing the workload. I have yet to find a single format that looks
good both on the screen and on the printed page, and I don't want to
sacrifice usability in either form just for my own convenience.
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