Re: reasons for online

Subject: Re: reasons for online
From: Jan Boomsliter <boom -at- CADENCE -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 1994 08:26:30 -0800

Let's, as they say in college, define our terms.

An on-line doc is designed for use on screen. It is not
a print file.

A manual is a manual, no matter how it is delivered.

Are we agreed?

I believe the future of the on-line doc is that it will be an integral
part of the product, not an addition to the product. In that case, the
on-line doc will have - should have - little resemblance to a print doc.


I got to thinking the other day about the reasons that
we are putting our documentation online. Are we doing
it to give the customer easier access to help, or are
we doing it to save our company money in printing costs?

I know that saving money was the motivation at one
company I worked for. The tech pubs department was
seen as a money spender, not a money earner. So how
best to cut costs? Put the cost burden of access to
documentation on the customer. Just give them one manual
and let them print out anything else as they needed it
from online.

Is that common? By providing online docs are we meeting
the customer's needs?

I am a big proponent of online docs if they are usable. Right
now I find that a manual's index is far superior to any online
index I have seen. Which means that I usually find my answers
more quickly in the manual.

Has anyone else had a similar experience?

Caryn Rizell
caryn -at- hpptc95 -dot- rose -dot- hp -dot- com

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