Re: User Guides in PDF Format on the Web

Subject: Re: User Guides in PDF Format on the Web
From: "Cramer, Kim" <kcramer -at- NCSLINK -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 07:55:00 -0700

Janice Malone said:
I would like to conduct an informal survey among other techwriters
determine if other companies are doing this and if so what were
thoughts and experiences with publishing user guides on the web.
there any specific copyright issues, document exposure issues (as
recently discussed in the softcopy thread), or potential loss of
revenue issues. The big motivation for this in my company is
service-oriented. The documentation is very accessible for the
customer. But before we move forward with this request, we would
to address all the concerns.

We deliver copies of our documentation (administrative software for K-12
school districts; platforms are AS/400, Windows PC, and Macintosh) on
our company's Web page. In addition, for the PC/Mac product, we also
include them on CD, and our installation program automatically installs
them on the user's machine.

We do this because our users don't always have access to the manuals at
their desks (they're usually buried deep somewhere at the district
office!). The user response has been very favorable. We include a
searchable index and detailed TOCs to make it easy for users to find
things. We also include procedural, form, and report online help for
the PC/Mac product (it's new and will be redesigned and enhanced now
that it's my baby!), and screen level help with some procedures (using
text files) on the AS/400 product.

Our manuals have a copyright statement on the bottom of every page (not
just in the front matter), so no matter what the user looks at or
prints, they will see our copyright. We use our headers for the book
and chapter names and the page numbers.

One caveat: double-check the fonts you choose on the types of screens
your users have. Some fonts are unreadable onscreen and that just makes
users mad as h%* -at- !

Kim Cramer
kcramer -at- ncslink -dot- com
Sr. Information Developer
NCS Education, Mesa AZ

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