Re: documentation on the WWW

Subject: Re: documentation on the WWW
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 3 Oct 1996 09:41:00 -0600

I may be atypical (what? Moi???) but here's how these comments apply here:

If they are away from their desk,

If I'm away from my desk, the odds are great I don't have web access. About
2/3 of the computers in the building I'm in don't have a browser installed.

if they can't find the manual,

Common occurance here. I can fire up and view an already DL'ed PDF file in
about half the time it takes to fire up a web browser, scan down the
bookmark list, connect to the site and receive the page.

if they are out on the road or working from home,

No wireless access to 'net, so PDF from laptop is only way from road. From
home, it depends on what room I'm in, and whether I want to wait for the
diagrams and text to come down via my 14.4 modem (haven't made the leap yet
to 28.8, yet I'm *still* faster than most of my coworkers and their 9600
baud modems).

if their manual is out of date.

Yep, there's a web-only advantage. But why is the manual out of date?
Because you already decided not to ship a manual with the last version?

Let me point out another potential problem. Is your product usable when not
connected to a net? With the highly visible outages experienced recently, It
might be quite possible that your normally connected customers can't get to
your web stie because either your or their ISP is down.

To web or not to web is a big decision, no doubt. And it can only be made
properly with a good knowledge of your customers. I don't have that; you
should. I can only warn about some possible dangers, and let you consider
the potential cost and make your decision. But those of us on the 'net tend
to forget that there are a *lot* of folks out there who aren't on it, and
who won't be getting on it any time soon, for several reasons. We tend to
think they don't count. But they might still be your customers (I say might,
because there are some companies, such as Cisco, who can probably safely
assume *all* their customers have internet access).

But don't worry, if you shift to web-only docs, they won't be for long. ;{>}

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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