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I would like the opinions of anyone who would care to
respond on the issue of online help and paper manuals.
First, let me explain the situation.
My company is developing a new, comprehensive, hypertext
online help system to replace our old, piecemeal, flat
help system. The new system will run on the HP, IBM, and
Sun UNIX workstations that host our main product,
the MountainTop family of CAD software applications.
The central question is this: If you could have a comprehensive,
hypertext help on your computer -- a help window that can
remain open even while you are doing other things in the
underlying application -- would you still want a paper manual?
I should add that the user of this help system will always
have the option of printing some or all of the screens
that comprise the help system. But we want to avoid a
situation in which we save money by not shipping paper
manuals, only to have every user at our customer sites
print his or her own copy of the entire help system
(on non-duplexed pages) thus using more paper than if
we had simply sent them paper manuals to begin with.
Thanks in advance for your thoughts and opinions.
mikel -at- huey -dot- accugraph -dot- com