Re[2]: Cost of Documentation

Subject: Re[2]: Cost of Documentation
From: Joyce Flaherty <flahertj -at- SMTPGW -dot- LIEBERT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 04:53:52 EST

Robert Plamondon (robert -at- PLAMONDON -dot- COM) wrote in response
to Michael Maloney RE ROI:

RP: <snip, good description of experiment on tracking lost sales,
support phone calls, and renewed support contracts>

RP: On a more immediate scale, you can do testing in a controlled
environment. When I was at Weitek, we did installation testing of our SPARC
upgrade processor. We just gave people the packaged upgrade product (with
documentation) and told them to install it while we watched. We changed
both the documentation and the installation tools on the basis of
these tests. <snip, observations>

JF: Usability testing and ROI are related, but strictly speaking,
not the same animal. A solid product will sell. Do you select
a VCR based on the quality of the doc? or do you select a VCR
based on the manufacturer? Careful, you might have to go VCRless.
If I selected a lawn mower based on the quality of the doc, my
wonderful Lawn-Boy would be sitting in someone else's garage.

JF: I might moan and groan and complain about documentation, but
poor doc does not influence my purchasing decision--hardware or
software.

JF: OTOH, ROI is most assuredly measurable in securing govt
contracts, which is a type of sale, and ROI is measurable in
support calls as well.

JF: Having refuted my own arguments, I support usability testing
whether or not I prepare the ROI. It's a necessary part of the
total process.

joyce flaherty
flahertj -at- liebert -dot- com

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