Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals

Subject: Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals
From: "Dennis Hays/The Burden Lake Group, Ltd." <dlhays -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 16:25:03 -0500

At 08:55 AM 01/22/1996 +0000, Tracy Boyington wrote:
>Michael Uhl wrote:
>> The bummer about the movement away from manuals packaged with the
>> software, is that employers--who paid for the software--bought
>> your manuals automatically.

>When I started working here, we used WordPerfect 5.1 and I had
>a copy of the manual (but only because I asked for it). We have since
>gone through WP 5.2, 6.0, and 6.1, and the only manual I have seen is
>that same 5.1 manual. Wait...that's wrong...we *did* have one copy of
>the 5.2 manual for the 20 people in my division to share. According
>to legend, the people in Systems have a 6.1 manual somewhere...
>I can borrow it if I want, although they're in a different building
>from me...

>When organizations like mine buy 300 WordPerfect licenses and don't
>ask for 300 copies of the manual, what incentive is there for WP to
>put any time, effort, and money into it? No wonder they think the
>whole thing is a big waste.


I used to think the value of the software was in the weight of the box.
Obviously, if you had a 7 pound box of software and manuals, it's got to be
better than an envelope with a floppy disk inside <sarcastic humor>.

Seriously, there is something to be said for the value of the product based
upon the comprehensiveness of the documentation. The flimsy Win95 doc
couldn't answer my question about the product, but then neither could 3
calls to tech support. I never read a manual from cover to cover, but over
time, I need to look at most of a manual to answer questions about a little
used feature. I like the feel of a book in my hand with a thorough
index/ToC. There's something to be said about following a thread of "how
to..." with the book next to the keyboard.

I definately feel cheated on the Win95 product and I can't afford to spend
US$40 to buy an after-market goodie whenever I have a question.


-------------> Dennis Hays, The Burden Lake Group, Ltd.
-------------> Voice: 518/477-6388 Fax: 518/477-5006
-------------> E-Mail: dlhays -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
------------->"God doesn't want you to be certain.
That's why He gave you a brain."


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