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Pete Kloppenburg [SMTP:pkloppen -at- CERTICOM -dot- CA] wrote:
...I always tend to view documentation as
mainly a method to *reduce* costs - different from being a cost in and of
itself, but not quite a profit center. ...
Mostly, we reduce costs. But we can add value, too.
Say you have a great piece of software, with a good intuitive user
interface. A customer can use the basic functionality regardless, and has a
good product. But if that customer is exposed to a great document, that
customer uses it correctly, gets the full depth of the functionality, and
has a great product. Ever notice the way software holy wars work? The tool
you know best is, in a personal but very real sense, the better tool. We
can make a good tool better.
Consider a software product that stinks. Great documentation can enable the
customer to get some use out of it, and work around the nastier parts.
Great documentation changes a product from worthless to merely not very
good. Unfortunately, good documentation makes the limitations of a tool
clear - without good documentation, a customer may assume that the tool
would work, if only he or she knew how to use it. In this situation, some
less enlightened marketing people may consider there to be a loss of
Mike Huber, celebrating 2750 years of decline, and not speaking for anybody
Mike -dot- huber -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com
Grammar and spelling are tools to be used in moderation.