TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ben Davies
> The CEO for my company refuses to provide customers with documentation
> that does not apply to what they have purchased.
> His reasoning came from a BBQ he purchased a couple years ago. The
> manual had 4 models inside. He thought he had one model, but actually
> had another. The instructions he followed didn't work, he got
> frustrated, and returned the BBQ. He said customers don't want to deal
> with information that doesn't apply to them because they are already
> dealing with record amounts of information everyday as it is...
> Content management tools can allow you to internally create any type of
> manual configuration you need, and only deliver what the customer
> requires. It takes more logistical maintenance, but makes the customers
> life easier.
> An intelligent approach would balance the end-user needs with internal
> requirements (safety, disclaimers, translation, etc.). It seems like
> you might be focusing too much on internal requirements...
An equally intelligent approach would examine the relative
importance of affected elements and implement one that met the
requirements without inconveniencing customers.
So, for example, we ship actual instructions (WebHelp) that applies
either to exactly the model that the customer has, or to that model
and to a model with greater capability as a form of "upsell".
It's always clear which one an instruction applies to, if there's
BUT - other than some true geeks, does anybody know anybody who
actually reads through all the disclaimer text?
I, for one, look only long enough to identify that booklet or
that section-of-a-larger-booklet as being useless to me
(no instructions or illustratinos or usable explanations),
and then I toss it aside, never to open again. Sometimes,
I don't even open plastic bag it's in.
The reams and reams of disclaimers and safety notices are
provided in order to satisfy bureaucrats and compliance-testing
engineers (who check off a box on a checklist, indicating that
certain documentation or certain stickers are present).
Lowering costs can mean increasing profits, but it can also
allow us to past the reductions along to customers. Customers
like that, when they lose nothing and get to keep some more
The information contained in this electronic mail transmission
may be privileged and confidential, and therefore, protected
from disclosure. If you have received this communication in
error, please notify us immediately by replying to this
message and deleting it from your computer without copying
or disclosing it.
Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days. http://www.doctohelp.com
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-