Re: does anybody really read {and what about 3rd party ...}

Subject: Re: does anybody really read {and what about 3rd party ...}
From: Mike Beyries <beyries -at- CSISDN -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 18 Mar 1994 17:22:06 PST

With recent list discussions in mind, I came across a regular column in
Communications Week mag/rag (author: Edwin Mier, pres. of a network
consultancy) titled "Help! What Most Vendors Need is a Second Set of Books".

This is the voice of a "user" (actually, a tester/consultant who may
represent or influence many users) of software documentation who says
that different levels of documentation are required.

In this brief article, the author mentions that documentation is either
too simplistic (a comic book) or too voluminous and formidable (an
encyclopedia. He does not think online help is better.

He mentions that his colleague figures any software product is too complex
if someone (not necessarily the manufacturer) can charge a lot for a
seminar that tells you how to use the product. I wonder if this translates
into some documentation measure as well (e.g., it's too complex a product
if the documentation doesn't fit on my desk, or if I have to read for
more than one hour before doing anything meaningful)? Of course, absolute
measures of un-usability are in the eyes and minds of the beholder :->

Anyway, Mier['s solution is to keep "two sets of books" -- as it were.
One set is for the novice and/or someone with plenty of time to read,
the other is for the expert or guy looking for a quick fix. His column
is a call to action for software product managers and documentors to
recognize this need and to fill it.

I think finding such "independent" evaluations of documentation needs
and trends is valuable, and just wanted to share ...

Regards to all,
Mike Beyries (beyries -at- csisdn -dot- com) - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Technical Writer & Doer of Other Foul Deeds | We are all in the gutter, |
Located at Connective Strategies, Inc. | but some of us are |
Mountain View, California, U.S.A. | looking at the stars. |
Phone 415-903-8382 (ISDN voice/data) or -2589 | -- Oscar Wilde |
*Not* CSI's corporate opinion ! - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

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