Re: Some software types do use manuals

Subject: Re: Some software types do use manuals
From: Jim Grey <jwg -at- ACD4 -dot- ACD -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 1994 08:27:06 -0500

Bob Pezzini, while talking about the Great Gray Wall being replaced with
the small white wall, mentioned an even smaller set of docs which describes
the most common functions:

Convincing your manager that you just need the base kit for your
cubicle (office) might be easier than asking for a complete wall of
documentation. Having to go to the lab or your corporate library
for information is frustrating. Every hard-working user should have
their own documentation. Programmers, however, need the whole set.

Every hard-working user should have their own documentation. Ah, a mantra
for our times.

This is part of my company's customers' frustration in using our product:
we ship exactly two sets of manuals, one of which ends up locked in a
manager's office somewhere and the other scattered in the winds as people
borrow them and then forget to return them. I've seen this on every
customer site I've visited.

We use a resource scheduler called Clockwise. It's loaded on one of the
UNIX hosts in the building; everyone has an account there, and we are
expected to schedule meetings and tasks there. We have one (1) manual for
the entire company; usage is spread by word of mouth. Just ten minutes
ago, my co-worker asked me to show her how to schedule an event.

We have one set of Interleaf docs, plus their (imho) pretty decent online
doc set. But unless I, as Interleaf Administrator, personally TELL users
the online set is there, they can't know, and yea, verily feel they cast
out amongst the sharp rocks and rough terrain to find their own way (which
causes me more headaches when they get themselves into a bind and call me
to bail them out).

The Interleaf doc set includes a multivolume reference, an admin guide,
and (the most popular doc on the Interleaf shelf) a User's Guide. I'd like
to give everyone a User's Guide. Don't particularly want to *pay* for
20 copies, though. (Back when we had Interleaf Publisher for Macintosh,
we had one set of docs per license, so everyone had a set for the desk.
Those docs were really, really good. The tutorial was especially fantastic.
But I digress.)

Sadly, my company's documentation includes no "Here's where you'll find
answers to most of your basic questions" document for each product. We've
lobbied to write them, but unsuccessfully. If we had them, I'd advocate we
distribute them freely to customers, that we send jillions of them out.
Because every hard-working user should have his own documentation.

jim grey |beebeebumbleandthestingersmottthehoopleraycharlessingers
jwg -at- acd4 -dot- acd -dot- com |lonniemackandtwangin'eddiehere'smyringwe'regoingsteadyta
|GO/M d p+ c++(-) l u+ e- m*@ s+/ n+ h f++ g- w+@ t+ r- y+(*)
|ACD, Terre Haute, IN -- The Silicon Cornfield

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