TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Documentation not as important anymore? From:Jim Walsh <jimw -at- TENNESSEE -dot- SC -dot- TI -dot- COM> Date:Fri, 29 Apr 1994 18:24:12 CDT
Lori wraps up my sentiments exactly -- the reader wants it FAST! Besides a
good index, we should also use figures and tables where they can replace
legions of paragraphs 'cause I feel the reader also doesn't want to READ!!
S/he'd rather have a pill that he could swallow that placed the data into
his/her working memory. Excuse MY soapbox.
-- Jim Walsh jimw -at- tennessee -dot- sc -dot- ti -dot- com
* From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
* Subject: Re: Documentation not as important anymore?
* I'm interested in this thread because I have some theories of my own.
* What customers really want is a way to obtain the information they want
* *quickly* so they can get on with their tasks. If they can't find the
* information in the product documentation, their next step is to call a
* Hot Line or Customer Support. By that time, they are not happy campers.
* In other words, customer satisfaction is at an all-time low.
* Most of you (or, at least, those of you who have read my previous posts
* on indexing) have probably already guessed where I'm heading, and you're
* right. An index is *the* most important retrievability tool a document
* can have. There's nothing more frustrating to users than knowing that the
* information "is in the document somewhere" and not being able to find it.
* (The only thing that annoys me more is finding an index entry that looks
* interesting, turning to the referenced page to learn more, and then
* discovering that the index had led me to a dead end because the page
* reference was incorrect.)
* My point is this: If the product documentation has a comprehensive index
* that points readers to every useful nugget of information, users would not
* have to call Hot Lines or Customer Service so often. I read an article a
* few years ago (sorry, I can't remember where) that said that most of the
* information users requested from Customer Support personnel was actually
* *in* the documentation; however, the users couldn't find it because the
* index was inadequate.
* Lori Lathrop (getting off soapbox)
* Lathrop Media Services -----------> INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com
* P.O. Box 808
* Georgetown, CO 80444