Re: Writing for on-line

Subject: Re: Writing for on-line
From: "Bergen, Jane" <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 18 Feb 1998 12:51:42 -0600

On Wednesday, February 18, 1998 11:39 AM, Wing, Michael J
[SMTP:mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM] wrote:
> <snip>
> > Readers may not read a printed manual from front to back, but the
> > does have a "flow" that online does not have. For example, most
> > Jane
> >
> I lost track here. Are we comparing online help, online documents, or
> to the printed document? If it is online help, I wouldn't expect to
read it
> from front-to-back. Instead, I expect to press the "?" icon or F1 and

Yeah, I think you did lose track. Maybe I wasn't clear, either.

The thread here was how much difference is there in the way
users/readers approach printed docs versus online docs. I was responding
to someone who said "not much....ALL technical readers read in snippets
or chunks, not front to back in printed docs.... so a writer can use the
same information/arrangement/text/etc. for both" (A loose paraphrase)

My response was that readers use printed documentation differently than
they do online. While it's true they don't read printed docs from front
to back, they still have a different set of expectations and
requirements that they bring to the printed form.

I won't repeat the whole thing....just wanted to clarify. I'm glad to
see this discussion as I think too many technical writers don't have a
clue about readability/usability issues or audience needs (and yes, I
can elaborate on that statement, too).

Jane Bergen, Technical Writer,
AnswerSoft, Inc. Richardson, TX
(972) 997-8355
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com

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