Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals

Subject: Re: Why We Need Good Software Manuals
From: Gwen Barnes <gwen -dot- barnes -at- MUSTANG -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 1996 16:18:01 GMT

-> It's a shame when a technical writer won't even read a technical manual.
-> Besides learning to use the product, it is good research to see how
-> other writers solve thorny problems, what new tricks are being used, and
-> how complex material can be organized. I think it would be a natural
-> reaction for every tech writer to read (or at least skim) any
-> documentation he can get his hands on -- especially for the software he
-> uses.

My sediments exactly! I look at all kinds of software manuals, good and
bad, to see how other techwriters solved problems similar to the ones I
face in documenting a product. If you stick with a product through
several upgrades, you can see the evolution of their writing process as
well -- they tend to keep the stuff that works, and ditch the stuff that
doesn't. Case in point: Pagemaker. I thought the doc set that came with
PM4 was okay, the ones that came with PM5 were exceptional, and the
post-Adobe buyout PM6 interesting, but will take some getting used to.

Gwen gwen -dot- barnes -at- mustang -dot- com
MSI * Connecting the world 805-873-2500

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