Re: FW: Getting users to RTFM

Subject: Re: FW: Getting users to RTFM
From: John G <john -at- garisons -dot- com>
To: David Tinsley <dtinsley -at- ndigital -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Sep 2014 12:27:38 -0400

Back in olden days I was documenting a hardware/software product with very
slim profit margins. Our goal statement:

Write documentation that allows users to find information easier and faster
than using the telephone.

Our research noted that the fully loaded cost of answering a tech support
call was $50 ... in 1987 dollars ($105.45 today based on inflation).

Looks like we're still dealing with the same problem.


On Tue, Sep 16, 2014 at 12:13 PM, David Tinsley <dtinsley -at- ndigital -dot- com>
wrote:

>
>
> Hi,
> I am after some opinions from fellow tech writers. We produce fairly
> complex spatial measurement systems that require a considerable
> understanding of the technology before they can be used in any meaningful
> way. My tech support colleagues continually get calls from customers for
> which the response is RTFM. The manuals do contain all the information
> needed, but it seems the customers would rather pick up the phone to tech
> support. We have been brainstorming ways of making it less intimidating for
> the customer to find information in the manuals. We deliver pdf, fully
> indexed, cross referenced and with a comprehensive logical TOC.
>
> One idea the tech support folk had was to incorporate some kind of
> "landing page" on the pdf with a "What do you want to do" kind of thing
> with links to the appropriate section. To my way of thinking we already
> have that in the TOC and this would just introduce yet another layer of
> information that would be ignored.
>
> So, after all the preamble my question is this: What successful methods
> have you implemented to persuade the user to search for the information in
> the manuals?
>
> David (who never reads manuals unless it is to critique them!)
>
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References:
FW: Getting users to RTFM: From: David Tinsley

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