Why manuals? I'll tell you why...

Subject: Why manuals? I'll tell you why...
From: Kat Nagel <KatNagel -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 22 Sep 1994 21:39:07 EDT

Richard Mateosian <srm -at- C2 -dot- ORG> writes:

"The paper software manual is dead...

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


A year ago I designed and produced a CD booklet for a local nonprofit choral
group. Since the proofreader worked on an IBM with Windows and the
camera-ready copy was being printed from a Sun workstation, FrameMaker was
the only package we could use without doing major reformatting at each step.

Only one local training company offered courses in FrameMaker, and they
charged over $1000 for each module of the course. The online help, though
better than most, was useless for a beginner. With a print deadline only a
few weeks away, I picked up the manual and got to work. Results? Wonderful.
Classy-looking product produced on time and within budget, very little
wasted time, and a new skill to add to my resume.

While you may prefer learning from online help, I find it difficult and
frustrating. You are limited to the information the writers _thinks_ you
need at any given point. Browsing is limited to the links the writers
_think_ you will find useful. Sometimes they guess wrong.

(WARNING: Emphatic opinion from a disgruntled user follows; asbestos raiment

Until there is a way to put in my own cross-references or add terms to the
index, I want a _book_ within arm's reach. A book with paper pages that I
can mark up with my own comments. A book where I can fold down a corner of
the page to mark something I keep forgetting because I only use it twice a
year. If you, as a software developer or hardware manufacturer won't give me
one, then I will choose another application or instrument. If that isn't an
option, I will purchase my hard-copy crutch somewhere else and bitch like
hell in every forum I can find until you change your policy.

(End of incendiary hazard)

Thanks. I needed that.
katnagel -at- aol -dot- com

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