Re: Document delivery on disk only?

Subject: Re: Document delivery on disk only?
From: Brett Peruzzi <Brett -dot- Peruzzi -at- FDC-INVEST -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 1996 12:50:23 -0400

One important factor when disk-only distribution of documentation is
requested is whether it will be files that the user will print out in
hard copy form or view online (Winhelp, HTML, etc.).

Also, what is the motivation of the requestor? To save money? Appear
technologically savvy because (ahem) you have eliminated (?) the need
for paper? Or, is it being done because it is the best way to meet the
target audience's needs?

I have been through this scenario several times, and I try to
discourage, or at least inform The Powers That Be the dangers of
providing print files (like a Word document) to users, for several
reasons. First, you have no control how the document will be printed
and/or bound and distributed, thus potentially compromising your
company's image. Second, your file content may be changed, perhaps
poorly or inaccurately, not only tarnishing your image, but also
opening you up to liability if something goes wrong when someone uses
the information.

Another consideration is software and hardware platforms. Make sure
your target audience has or will obtain the necessary software or
hardware to view or print your documentation. I have been asked to
provide documentation "on disk" which existed in MacIntosh or Windows
format for users that typically only used mainframe terminals.

OTH, electronic documentation, being read-only, and (hopefully!)
designed for online viewing, does not present these issues.

FWIW, my experience has been that the requestors are typically senior
management types looking to save money, not address audience needs.
Laurie's Marketing VP may be thinking if he saves big bucks on product
documentation then he can afford more four-color marketing materials.

Again, try to find out what the real motivation is, and educate the
requestor. You won't always win, but at least your management has been
forewarned.



Brett Peruzzi
First Data Investor Services
Boston, MA USA
Brett -dot- Peruzzi -at- fdc-invest -dot- com

**Speaking only for myself**



______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Document delivery on disk only?
Author: Laurie Miles <miles -at- BROOKTREE -dot- COM> at Internet
Date: 8/13/96 9:01 AM


I was recently speaking with a Marketing VP about his company's literature.
Because there isn't any literature for his products in the marketplace as
yet, he can establish the company standard for document delivery. His idea
is to present product documentation to customers on disk only (no printed
pieces, except for the glitzy marketing stuff).

Does anyone out in techwr-l land have experience with this type of document
delivery? What are the ramifications? What are customer objections? and so
on, and so on, and so on...

Any information would be appreciated.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Laurie Miles _o An editor... comes down from the mountain
miles -at- brooktree,com _'\<; after the battle and shoots the wounded.
619-597-4413 (*)/(*)

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