Re: online vs. paper

Subject: Re: online vs. paper
From: Lori Lathrop <76620 -dot- 456 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 7 Oct 1994 10:15:14 EDT

In response to Michael Priestley ....

I was agreeing with you, not disputing anything you said.

I prefer software that has a combination of online and hardcopy
documentation but, because hard disk space is limited, I want my online
documentation to be limited to: (1) "instant gratification" types of
things: online "how-to" help that lets me find an answer quickly, and
(2) online documentation that serves as a navigational tool through the

However, I want that online documentation to be concise. I would *not*
want to read the Great American Novel online, even if I had a gigabyte
hard drive and a huge, high-resolution screen for my poor ol' peepers.
BTW, if you don't experience any fatigue when reading a dot matrix
printout, you must be a lot younger than me or fortunate enough to have
much better eyesight :-)

I also agree with you that the limited number of postures we assume when
reading online documentation contributes to the fatigue factor.

I haven't seen the testimonials you mentioned on alt. hypertext, but I
have read usability studies that support my statements about readability
problems and fatigue due to lower resolution on the screen as compared to
the resolution of typeset documentation.

No doubt, we could find lots of references that support both sides of the
issue; however, I don't think it's worth debating because it boils down
to a matter of personal preference. The fact is that, whatever our
preference -- for printed or for online documentation -- no amount of
testimonials or usability studies are likely to change that preference.
For that reason, I think we'll always need to give *both* (printed and
online documentation) to our customers.

Don't get me wrong. I do like *some* online documentation. I just don't
want it to be my *only* option. As I said, I want it for "instant
gratification" purposes. If I want to take another look at something I've
read, though, I'd prefer to flip a few pages of a manual than to retrace
my steps in the online documentation. In that respect, I think I'm a
typical user.

Keep up the good work ... I still own some IBM stock!

Lori Lathrop P.O. Box 808
Lathrop Media Services Georgetown, CO 80444
INTERNET:76620 -dot- 456 -at- compuserve -dot- com Phone: 303-567-4011
(Former IBMer and author of _An Indexer's Guide to the Internet_
published by the American Society of Indexers)

Previous by Author: Re: online vs. paper
Next by Author: Re: Script Writing
Previous by Thread: Re: online vs. paper
Next by Thread: Re[2]: online vs. paper

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads