WinHelp 95 help approach

Subject: WinHelp 95 help approach
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 08:25:00 EST

>Certainly I was most disappointed with the documentation supplied for Office
>7.0 (the 32 bit version). Apart from the VERY twee printed 'manual' that
>came with it (Chapter titles like 'Find the magic numbers', or 'Order for
>the court'!), the online help is totally useless for advanced use.

I, too, found the docs pathetically small. But I'm used to getting into the
basement and turning valves myself. Windows 95 is designed so,
theoretically, you don't have to.

<snipperoonees>

>While the -system- is a big improvement, the new -content- is quite frankly
>and excuse the french, totally f**king cr*p (I am sorry I had to resort to
>that language, but there is no other accurate way to describe it, IMNSHO).
>There is NO excuse for missing (vital) information in a product this complex
>from a compnay that rich.

It may just be your expectations after the groaning weight of the previous
manuals. Windows 95 is a bunch more stable than its predecessors, so it
requires less tedious information. But I was shocked at the paucity of
documentation about Office!

<again, snip, snip>

>The problem is as far as I can tell, for Microsoft "audience analysis" means
>'find the bell curve' and document for the mythical average user with the
>mythical average computer familiarity and the mythical average education,
>instead of identifying all the possible audiences and producing
>documentation for the major ones.

It's a question we all have to answer before we put toner on paper. Who do
we write for? Well, Microsoft probably has the widest range of possible
users of any software house in the world. They have to look at the bell
curve. If I were Gates, I'd do the same thing. That's why there are
third-party books.

>It really pisses me off and if I did not -have- to buy their products, I
>would not (I guess Chairman Bill couldn't give a tinkers cuss about that as
>long as I'm forced to keep buying his product).

Well, there are other software solutions you could use, such as UNIX and
OS/2. They work at least as well as Windows 95 or NT. Of course, they're not
as commonly used or supported. Still, if you're really frustrated with
Microsoft, you can go to one of them. UNIX is rock-stable and has a hugely
varied software supply, even if they're twice as expensive as Windows
versions. And OS/2 has the full force and credit of IBM behind it <g>. Gates
doesn't rule everywhere. Check out your local engineering office and you'll
probably find that he has little presence there.

Tim Altom
Vice President
Simply Written, Inc.
Technical Documentation and Training
Voice 317.899.5882
Fax 317.899.5987
WWW: http://www.iquest.net/simply/simplywritten/


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