Re: Why manuals?

Subject: Re: Why manuals?
From: Gwen Gall <ggall -at- CA -dot- ORACLE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Sep 1994 13:26:59 EDT

In-Reply-To: CNSEQ1:TECHWR-L -at- VM1 -dot- ucc -dot- okstate -dot- edu's message of 09-21-94 01:15

<Nobody has ever learned FrameMaker4 or Word6 or Photoshop3 or any other
<major package by reading the paper documentation supplied with it.

Not true! When my husband's office got a a fancy new plotter, the CAD
guys asked him how come he knew so much about how to use the thing--it was
mostly THEIR plotter, but Greg uses it too.

His reply was simple: "I read the manual".

He also knows neat things about Windows that I would never have known. One
night I was kinda teasing him for reading his Windows manual in bed. He
pointed out that I should be the _last_ person to discourage the reading of
manuals! ;-)

Another point on this subject, and something for those of us who document
software products to consider:

If no one is reading hard copy before/during/after software use, why is there
such a HUGE market for non-vendor user guides? Maybe nobody is reading the
documentation that comes with the product. I know plenty of people who opt
for reading these user-centered, task-oriented books instead of reference-
style, product/function oriented product documentation.

(Oh, and before anyone else points it out, I know that lots of people don't
HAVE the product doc.--thanks to pirating, but I don't think that's the only
reason these books sell so well.)

One final remark: Visual Basic is _very_ complex, even for experienced
programmers, and the guy I know who's learning it clutches his "Visual Basic
Bible" (1,000s of page long) tightly to his chest wherever he goes.

This shouldn't be construed as an anti-online doc. stance. It's not. They just
both have their place until we get our "Sony Bookman"s and take them to
the park to read.

JMCO (Just My Canadian Opinion)

Gwen (ggall -at- ca -dot- oracle -dot- com)

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