Re: QUERY: Long vs. Short Manuals (#125443)

Subject: Re: QUERY: Long vs. Short Manuals (#125443)
From: Bill Burns <wburns -at- MICRON -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 1996 14:11:13 MDT

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16-JUL-1996 10:54:36.52

>Our current manual (290 pages, not including the 70-page tutorial)
>attempts to document every task. All of this information is also included
>in the help system. The problem is that the manual no longer feels like
>it is easily accessible. We worry that people are getting bogged down in
>the details that they only need maybe 10% of the time and so aren't able
>to find the information they need every day.

How about grouping daily- or common-use information separately from more
advanced, rarely used operations? In the former part of the manual, include
the basic tasks and the commonly used advanced tasks with references to
additional information in appendices. In the latter section, include features
that are used seldomly, if ever, and more detailed and technical information
about commonly used features that won't be of interest to the average user.

Excluding information from the manual will help those who currently consider it
unwieldy, but it will alienate those who need or want the additional
information. By reorganizing the information to address both needs separately,
you can achieve both ends--a usable manual and complete information.

Bill Burns
Assembly Training and Documentation Supervisor

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