Re: Electronic Documentation - a tangent

Subject: Re: Electronic Documentation - a tangent
From: Faith Weber <weber -at- EASI -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1993 13:18:13 PDT

Ken, I agree with a lot of your comments (about electronic
doc, as opposed to online/hypertext doc). Apart from a couple
of big companies we deal with who find that it's difficult to
give all users access to paper documentation, and find it
easier to distribute same electronically, I don't know if
anyone really likes E.D. In some ways I think it's kind of
a waste: if it's going to be effective online, you really
have to take time to format it for the screen, in which case
you may as well go ahead and do a real online document in
the first place (IMO). If it's not effective online, and the
client has to print it, well, that's a disadvantage for the
client, not an advantage (especially if they don't have a
technical communicator around to kick the printer)!

I also think it's revolting for companies to send out
electronic documents without at least one paper copy. I know
documentation is considered a necessary evil by most companies,
but that's just ridiculous.

I've played with Acrobat a little too, and it has a lot of
potential. On the other hand, it's just not that useful to
have an 8-1/2 X 11 page on the screen. You have to either
squint, zoom in, or print the page to read it.
So even with Acrobat, the only way to produce an online document
users will be enthusiastic about is to format it to go online
in the first place (unless you have a small page size to start
with -- then you might be OK). Reformatting for Acrobat may well
be easier and less time-consuming than doing, say, Windows Help.
But it doesn't have quite as much functionality yet, either,
so it's still a trade-off.


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