Re: Slapping it online

Subject: Re: Slapping it online
From: David Blyth <dblyth -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 1996 11:46:28 -0700

>We've encountered two scenarios where "slapping it online" was

So far, the 'best' argument I've heard for 'slapping it online' is
that the customer gets something - and something is better nothing.

I agree - but my own experiences with giving the customer 'something'
online right away were all diasters, varying only in size. Customers
are never satisfied - they always want more than they can get. Why
encourage the behavior?

>We wrote the online help *first*, and then "reverse-engineered" the help
>files into a 250 page, nicely chunked and task oriented user manual.
>Very little, if any, rewriting was done. The worst aspect of it was
>that the online help was not organized or structured like a hard copy

It's interesting to do it backwards, isn't it? I just recently
backported a Web site into Word6 (I was required to - I hate Word6!)
and discovered that:

o It was easier to correct organizational problems in hard copy
(you have lots of room to think).

o It was easier to correct editing problems online (you have no
room to think).

o The online version 'broke' a lot of hard copy rules just to
create more white space.

- No figure titles
- No table titles

>it was, not surprisingly, completely interface-centric

I'm not sure if your stuff was on the Web. Howeveh, a Web page
_is_ an interface - rather than strictly a document. Building a
Web page is _interface_ design - not document design.

David (The Man) Blyth
Technical Writer & Web Site Designer

The usual disclaimers apply - QUALCOMM isn't that crazy.

Blodo Poa Maximus

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