Re: Online versus Paper

Subject: Re: Online versus Paper
From: Romay Jean Sitze <rositze -at- NMSU -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 26 Sep 1994 17:57:36 -0600

Kelly's point is well made. With the rapid proliferation of laptops, the
need for paper manuals is, if anything, even greater.

I might add that while I use online help (and yes, I do have a monster 19"
screen), I still like paper documentation. I find a good (notice the
"good") manual essential for many reasons.

1. It's portable. I am not stuck in front of a screen whether I want to
be or not in order to learn about the software. I often read up on
various topics while waiting in a doctor's or dentist's office, while
traveling, in bed, etc.

2. I can reference several sections at one time by flipping back and forth
for a quick glance at applicable text.

3. Coverage of a topic is often more complete.

4. I frequently work with more than one window open at a time. Adding a
help screen can really add to a sense of clutter.

On the other hand, I like to use online help for quick reference to
particular topics when all I need is a brief reminder. I like a good
tutorial when I first open a new piece of software--especially if there is
provision for a quick exit if I find, as is often the case, that the
tutorial really doesn't cover much that I don't find almost intuitive
about the program anyway.

On Mon, 26 Sep 1994, Kelly Hoffman wrote:

> Regarding the online vs. paper debate...

> Hmmm, how come I get the impression that those who are vigorously
> defending online doc as a replacement for printed doc all have big
> monitors?

> I don't mind online help so much when I'm using my 19/20/21-inch
> (depending on how you measure it ;-) monitor at 1280x1024. On my
> laptop, though (~9-inch at 640x480), it's a royal pain to do anything
> other than quick look-ups in online help because there's typically no
> way to view both the help and whatever I wanted help on in the first
> place at the same time.

> I also find it much easier to glean conceptual info (an overview of
> how a product works, why you might want to use it, etc.) from printed
> manuals than from online help. Perhaps it's a result of being able to
> skim printed manuals more efficiently. For a quick reference on a
> *particular* aspect of using a product, however, context-sensitive
> online help is quite nice.

> kkh

> --
> Kelly K. Hoffman kelly -at- nashua -dot- hp -dot- com
> Learning Products Engineer
> Hewlett-Packard, Network Test Division "Reading the manual is
> One Tara Blvd., Nashua, NH 03062 admitting defeat."

* RoMay Sitze rositze -at- nmsu -dot- edu *
* Mirrors should reflect a *
* little before throwing *
* back images. *
* -Jean Cocteau- *

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