FWD: Who is my audience?

Subject: FWD: Who is my audience?
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 29 Oct 1997 07:25:21 -0700

Forwarded anonymously on request. Eric

>I work for a large university (40000+ full time students). Over the past
>few years, we have implemented a new computer system. It involves 9
>separate 'modules' which are used in various ways by approximately 4000
>staff. It was designed in-house, and there were no vendors involved.
>I have been in charge of writing the documentation, and training the
>Up until now, I have madly documented every single feature of our Student
>Information System. The manuals are huge, and most staff have never read
>them. I'm now at a point where system changes have stabilized, and I can
>think about redesigning our documentation.
>I have three questions:
>1. At the moment, there are 9 manuals, and many, many e-mail updates to
>them. There is no on-line help, or web-based help. I have the choice of
>either re-doing the paper documentation, creating application help
>(accessible from the Help drop menu inside a module), or creating web
>help (in a secure web site). Which type of documentation would you
>consider to be a priority?
>2. My 4000 users are a very diverse group of people. They include
>programmers, tech staff, registrarial staff, faculty, secretaries, and
>upper level management. I know that there are computer whizzes out there,
>but there are also staff who still use rolodexes to track their students.
>A fair number of staff are not comfortable with computers.
>The main lesson that I have learned from this listserv is "know thy
>reader". I know them, but I don't know who to write for. Would you write
>for the rolodex users? The programmers? The secretaries (who only look at
>information)? The registrarial staff (who change all types of
>I'm only allowed to create one set of documentation. The last set was
>written for the registrarial staff. Needless to say, the larger body of
>secretaries complained about all of the useless information. The
>non-computer users didn't read the manuals since I didn't tell them how
>to turn their computers on. Management liked the manuals, but couldn't
>understand why they were never used and why errors were still being made
>by all staff.
>Does anybody have an opinion about my audience?
>3. Does anybody know if a technical training listserv exists? I have some
>questions about training my users, but I don't think this listserv is the
>correct forum.

Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner http://www.raycomm.com/

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