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I actually know my audience about as well as anybody could hope --
for several years, I gave technical support and training for our software.
The trouble is that our customers seem to run the gamut, from
inexperienced folks who really aren't terribly computer literate,
to people who work with sophisticated CAD programs all day long.
I'm also dealing with an international audience, so I tend to
think more explanation is better.
I guess I have a tough time deciding who to cater to. People in the
office here tend to be the "oh, that's obvious!" type. So when they
read what I've written, I'm sure they will say it's too simple-minded.
But having spoken to many, many customers who simply don't have a clue,
I say the simpler, the better. I just hope I'm not going TOO simple.
(My favorite story was the long-time user who, when asked to type
"sysinfo -s" on his Unix workstation, typed "sysinfo-s". It took me about 30
minutes on the phone to figure out what he was doing wrong, since I just
assumed he knew that almost all Unix commands have options preceeded by
a minus sign, and the space is required for all of them. Even though this fellow
had been using a Unix workstation for many years, he still got it
wrong. Just goes to show, you can't be too clear...)
Glenda Jeffrey Email: jeffrey -at- hks -dot- com
Hibbitt, Karlsson & Sorensen, Inc Phone: 401-727-4200
1080 Main St. Fax: 401-727-4208
Pawtucket, RI 02860