Re: Documenting the user interface--unnecessary features?

Subject: Re: Documenting the user interface--unnecessary features?
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 2007 11:54:53 -0800

At one of the smartest companies I ever worked with, the
Marketing team determined that even though the instrument
and its associated software could perform about 50 different processes, 90% of their paying customers
would only be using about half of them stock out-of-the-
box. We documented those, left the rest undocumented,
and anytime a customer looked at the UI, realized that it
might be possible for it to do one of the undocumented
processes and called Customer Support about it, the phone
reps would say "That function is not supported in the
current release. I can transfer you to our Product Support Division if you would like a quote for the development of a custom application." The "custom application" usually
consisted of a small patch to install some driver files and
the user instructions that we had not written at the time of
original release.

Gene Kim-Eng

----- Original Message ----- From: "Beth Agnew" <beth -dot- agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>

When we started doing task-based documentation rather than just documenting every feature, button, etc., the question usually came up "What if you document all the tasks and you still haven't covered every feature?". All you good techwriters know the answer to that, but the developers were shocked to learn that if every possible task has been documented and some UI items or features weren't mentioned, by golly then maybe they're redundant / unnecessary features! Those conversations were always a lot of fun -- for me, anyway. I'm with you, Gordon, I'd argue the case. If it's in the product, and it's something users need, it should be in the doc.


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RE: Documenting the user interface--unnecessary features?: From: Gordon McLean
Re: Documenting the user interface--unnecessary features?: From: Beth Agnew

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