Re: Installation Instructions & Screen Captures

Subject: Re: Installation Instructions & Screen Captures
From: Chris Hamilton <chamilton -at- GR -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 09:51:19 -0600

Michael Barwick wrote:
> Item 1:
> I'm working on instructions for a piece of software. What's the
> consensus about how thorough the installation instructions ought to be?

I'd say you write for the lowest common denominator. However, if there's
a sizeable part of the user community that doesn't need that level of
instruction, you could do a manual with all the details and an
installation card or something that speaks to a higher level audience.
Or you could have two sets of directions. But I'd only do this if a lot
of your audience would be insulted by the level of detail. Otherwise,
it's best to err on the side of caution, in my opinion. (I should also
say that I used to put every screen shot in and I've backed off that
some. They're supposedly doing the installation as they read, so I only
put in screen shots when they really need to check the output or
something. I used to put in all the screen shots and the progress bars
and all that. That's overkill, I think.)

Beyond this question of yours is a question of mine. Are the people
challenging your assumptions projecting their level of expertise to the
user community or are they in a position to have enlightened opinions
about the user community?

Off the top of my head, I can't address question 2.

Chris Hamilton, Technical Writer
Greenbrier & Russel

"The essence of greatness is the preception that virtue is enough." --
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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