I've been wrong all along...more pictures less words

Subject: I've been wrong all along...more pictures less words
From: "Daniel Ng" <kjng -at- gprotechnologies -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Aug 2007 18:44:30 +0800

Wondering if anyones been in anyone of these situations

I think I've done my research over the last few years. Followed the Tech
Whirlers. Read the books. Done the interviews.
I've been developing help files for our products with a style guide,
observing best practices in Microsoft Help and other popular help
products like in Adobe and in Robohelp. My general mantra for electronic
help has been more conceptual visio diagrams, concept descriptions,
detailed how to steps, put in examples, no software screenshots(minimal
at least). Then for printed documents, such as printable software
training guides, screenshots are okay, from time to time, copy and paste
text from the help. I thought that was an okay system for product
support documentation.


A new product is just to be released. The project manager kept stressing
more pictures, screenshots and less words. More screenshots. Less
writing. Factory workers don't care for text. All that english is too
much for them.

Coincidentally also added a new member to my team. Suggested no need to
develop a set of separate printable training guides (we took 7 months to
develop this in 2 languages with lots of text we reused from our effort
in Help)...suggested.. Just use the user's guide. Such a duplication of
effort is a waste. Get project trainers to use one source of information
no need all this cross referencing between printed and online help. Wats
a training guide when you have a user's guide.

Generally our project trainers prefer a printable handout(trainin
guides) to offer their students when they are learning the product. All
this electronic help search is alien stuff. Let me get the job done and
that's all I need to know. I know a lot of project trainers are glad to
have had the set of training guides to print instead of online help.

Have I got my assumptions wrong all these years? I guess change is
sometimes difficult. Have I been wrong?

Our users are production floor workers, line supervisors all the way up
to executives, high school literate to degree holders. Write for the
user they say. Don't ape what you see in big 'commercial' programs.

Have I got my assumptions wrong?

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