Re: Online-only documents

Subject: Re: Online-only documents
From: Katharine Woods <kathw -at- FIREFOX -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 1996 16:59:44 +0100

Betsy Perry wrote:

> A corollary to (3) is "Will the online documentation be available if
> the product is crashed or unavailable?"... [snip] ...
> I prefer always to make diagnostic and repair information available on
> paper as well as online; this has the side-effect of encouraging the
> customer to think about disaster recovery before the disaster strikes.

Excellent point!

So once you've got to print the installation and troubleshooting
information, why not supply a full set of printed doc? I'm quite
sceptical about the online-only bandwagon because I'm not convinced
it's to the benefit of customers.

Gillian McGarvey wrote:

> But there is initiative to move to getting rid of all paper doc. I've
> heard many a protest from customers, so while we try to move in this
> direction, we are simultaneously writing paper manuals!

Anyone else gone down the online only route and got customer feedback?
We don't get much of that here (at least it's not fed back to Tech Pubs)
so I'd like to hear from others what their experience is.

Effectively, we're still writing paper-based doc, since we convert
Ventura formatted manuals to SGML so that DynaText can read them. We
also have context-sensitive online help, as well as the Acrobat versions
("Oy, you, customer! Print these out before the software crashes!").

So the only information we supply that is truly based on online principles is the help. However, we are trying to to make the online manuals easier to read online - chunking, lots of headings, lots of links.

Katharine Woods
kathw -at- firefox -dot- co -dot- uk

PS Can I retreat into my lurking shell now since Eric's OKed it? :-)

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