RE: Getting rid of the manual

Subject: RE: Getting rid of the manual
From: "R. Armstrong" <rarmstrong -at- alpha -dot- ipswitch -dot- com>
To: "'List,Techwriter'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 25 Jul 2006 15:06:21 -0400

We eliminated our User's Guides and only shipped documentation as part of
the Online Help. This went over like a lead balloon. Customers were calling
to complain almost daily.

For the next release, I made a direct port of our online docs to a
Framemaker book, and wouldn't you know it? The calls slowed down.
Unfortunately, I called the .pdf a Getting Started Guide instead of a User's
Guide because I felt like the depth of knowledge wasn't quite enough to call
it a User's Guide. Therefore, the calls never really stopped. They just
trickled in for long enough to irritate me. I mean, the information was
already in the online help, why would it matter what the document was

Last month, I renamed the file to the User's Guide, adjusted the cover page
and footers, and we haven't had a single call about it since.

It goes to show that perception and what someone is used to is sometimes
much more important than accessibility, searchability, and ease-of-use.

Another thing to think about: If you have dealings with European companies
or customers, they will certainly want something they can have printed, or
something they can print out on their own. We've heard from our
International Sales team that it is a cultural difference there.

Hope that helps!

Robert Armstrong


WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today!

Doc-To-Help includes a one-click RoboHelp project converter. It's that easy. Watch the demo at

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Getting rid of the manual: From: David Loveless

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