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: Do we RTFM? From:Faith Weber <weber -at- EASI -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 6 Oct 1994 10:19:50 PDT
Pat O'Connell writes:
>Actually, I think a great deal can be gotten from applying your own
>experiences as a documentation user to what you're working on. It's the old
I agree! I have been remiss about R-ing the FM in the past, but
lately I've been making more of an effort. One of the things
I find helpful in Microsoft's documentation lately is that in
addition to the 800-odd page reference manual, they often provide
a "Features Guide" (or something like that) which gives you an
overview of what the program is for, as well as some cross-references
to more detailed info about each feature. These guides are about
100 pages with lots of screen shots and such, so I can take one
home and whip through it in an evening. Then, when I'm using the
program, I'll remember there was some feature that did just what
I want, and look it up in the 800-pager.
I'd be curious to know what you folks think about this doc set
concept. It sure works well for me -- I think it results in me
looking at the manual more and having more awareness of each
product's features than if I only had the big old reference
manual. Even if there's an introductory section in the ref, I
develop a fight-or-flight response when I see a big manual!
And, since *I* feel that way, I'm trying to reduce our manuals
so they're more helpful and less intimidating to our users.
EA Systems Inc.
weber -at- easi -dot- enet -dot- dec -dot- com