RE: datasheet vs. product bulletin vs. app note vs. tech note vs. case study ?

Subject: RE: datasheet vs. product bulletin vs. app note vs. tech note vs. case study ?
From: Erika Yanovich <ERIKA_y -at- rad -dot- com>
To: Monique Semp <monique -dot- semp -at- earthlink -dot- net>, TechWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Mar 2016 06:02:32 +0000

Sorry for stating the obvious, but to determine what you need, always ask yourself who is the target audience and why would they need this doc type. For example, a data sheet is meant for a potential customer. By reading it, the customer understands that the product more or less fits a need and is ready to explore further by, say, calling a sales rep or emailing.

If you have too many overlapping content, you are up to a maintenance/admin nightmare (single-sourcing or not).

HTH,
Erika

-----Original Message-----

Hello, WR-L-ers,

Iâve inherited a bunch of datasheets for software security products that are definitely too long and include info thatâs more suited for a different doc. Happily, I have the opportunity to rectify the situation, and so would like to compare-and-contrast the different doc types.

And so Iâd like to query the hive-mind as to whether my understanding of the different docs matches what others would assume...

I tried to differentiate these docsâ content (see below), but am hard-pressed to see a big difference between, for example, an Application Note and regular user guide, or between a Product Bulletin and a Technical Note. So comments are eagerly awaited!

A. Datasheet:
* â1-pagerâ (but expected to be front & back, so two pages).
* Meant for high-level sales prospects; good for trade-show collateral.
* Identifies high-level problem/solution.
* Describes high-level architecture/design, and includes a diagram/illustration.
* Lists primary features/benefits.
* Lists general system requirements.

B. Product Bulletin:
* Any length.
* Less sales-oriented than a datasheet, so omit problem/solution selling.
* More spec-oriented, so bigger lists of applicable industry standards would be appropriate.
* Includes detailed diagrams or detailed charts/graphs.
* Good doc to compare different versions/flavors of the product.
* Good format to inform customers of changes to existing products or procedures.

C. Application Note:
* Could be basically a case study, but different because it might not actually have been done.
* Explores/explains how to address a particular use case or task.
* The âhow-toâ element is key, and a key differentiator between this doc type and a datasheet/product bulletin.
* Might address a specific, well-known issue for which customers are looking for a solution, but might be more of an education thing for customers about a nifty way to use the product.
* Can contain high-level process and implementation steps, so customers get a good idea of what work theyâll have to do.
* Iâd say it would be relatively short (up to 10 or so pages), and so a good deal of info but not a full-blown user guide. But googling shows many application notes that really seem more like regular user manuals to me.
* If the associated user guide covers very generic cases where the customer is expected to interpret how to do things, the Application Noteâs content could almost serve as use-case specific appendix to the user guide.

D. Technical Note:
* This is what I used to call docs that now seem to me to be Application Notes or Product Bulletins. But maybe thereâs some other standard description of this?

* (Technical BriefâIâd always thought that this was synonymous with âTechnical Noteâ, but my googling today shows many hits that say that a technical brief is more of a project plan, identifying who does what on a technical project.)

E. Case Study
* Often presented as a whitepaper.
* A real-world scenario where someone used the product and achieved a good result (less cost, speedier implementation, etc.) when compared to using a different product (or not doing anything).

Thanks for your thoughts,
-Monique
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datasheet vs. product bulletin vs. app note vs. tech note vs. case study ?: From: Monique Semp

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