RE: Recent User Assistance Studies on Printed Books?

Subject: RE: Recent User Assistance Studies on Printed Books?
From: "Lorraine Kiewiet" <lkiewiet -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "'Lauren'" <lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 6 Aug 2007 21:55:10 -0700

Interesting ideas. Thanks for writing.

It is possible to produce PDF files for delivery to the local hardcopy print
shop for printing on your choice of paper, binding, etc., to deliver to the
customer, while at the same time, creating PDF output designed to be
delivered as a file to be read online with Acrobat Reader, if the customer
so prefers online reading. This file prints out without font problems on any
customer printer and looks good on 8.5x11 paper (if set up for that; a
separate step would be required for A4 paper). And in this scenario, the
user cannot tell that there is also a 7.5x9 page layout created from the
same content.

FrameMaker can do this. Can't speak to the XML process.

With the Index of a document, I find "5-14" very annoying. I'd rather just
see "Search Hits, 54-59, 85-87, 102-105" versus "Search Hits, 3-5 - 3-10,
5-3 - 5-7, 7-8 - 7-11" for example. In a print book, reading all of those
numbers could be annoying.

Thanks for the feedback!

-----Original Message-----
From: Lauren [mailto:lt34 -at- csus -dot- edu]
Sent: Monday, August 06, 2007 4:32 PM
To: 'Lorraine Kiewiet'; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Recent User Assistance Studies on Printed Books?

Isn't the current choice of the technical managers, the 8.5 x 11, option
more conducive to electronic and printable copies of the documents? For
example, a customer could have a CD with pdfs of the support documents and
print chapters as necessary on a standard printer. With the chapter number
in the page number, the customer could know where a particular document
stack belongs without having to organize the entire document. Besides, it's
easier for me to deal with page numbers like 4-11, rather than page 91, or
whatever, because I like smaller page numbers for documentation. I want to
feel like I'm reading a support document and not a novel.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lt34=csus -dot- edu -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lt34=csus -dot- edu -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
> Of Lorraine Kiewiet
> Sent: Monday, August 06, 2007 4:03 PM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Recent User Assistance Studies on Printed Books?
> Hi Wr-lers. To make a long story short.
> Background: I recently joined a company with little experience in
> creating user documentation. They are a rapidly growing software firm.
> There are two tech writers and a manager, and there has been a lot of
> turnover. Before the three people who are here today arrived, the
> technical managers made the switch from a 7.5 x 9 inch printed book
> with consecutive page numbering in favor of an 8.5 x 11 printed manual
> with the 'chapter-level' page numbering. Also, paragraph leading and
> font choices make the long, gray blocks of text difficult to read.
> Today's question: Given that they think this looks good, are there any
> studies out there to support the more standard practices that we three
> on the doc team want to move to?
> Examples: for internationalization, we believe that the book should be
> 7.5 x 9. For readability, the body font should be serif, and more than
> 3 points of line leading are needed between paragraphs.
> Thanks for any pointers to studies, journal articles, wiki's.
> --Lorraine
> Lorraine Kiewiet\r\nTechnical Writing & Consulting\r\nOnline & Print
> Documentation
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^


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