Electronic VS. Paper: know your audience

Subject: Electronic VS. Paper: know your audience
From: KarlF <karlf -at- SPECTRALOGIC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 20 Feb 1998 16:15:06 -0700

I send my docs out in three formats:
PDF, for printing.
HTML, for quick, easy access to information.
Paper-copy, for the field engineer's trash can.
Take your pick.You may be able to tell which one I prefer. Engineers
are mostly an intelligent, if not arrogant, bunch who like electronic
toys. Our FRU documentation is also huge and complicated. It's easier
for the guy who likes electronic toys to flip through computer screens,
be they PDF or HTML, than it is for the same guy to keep track of a
piece of paper. He'd much prefer the electronic toy anyway... and, as
somebody else said, the electronic copy is always updatable on the fly
(which leads to revision control issues, but that's another story).

The bottom line: electronic copy best suits the engineering audience.

Karl Frank

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jonathan Soukup [SMTP:jsoukup -at- ESKIMO -dot- TAMU -dot- EDU]
> Sent: Thursday, February 19, 1998 6:50 PM
> Subject: Question: Electronic VS. Paper Documentation
> The technical manuals that we produce are used mostly by our field
> service
> technicians. We are finding that after about a year, a new tech will
> know
> his job well enough to stop using the manual. The problem is that we
> are
> constantly updating the manual with new and changing information that
> they
> are not learning. Instead they make costly long distance phone calls
> to
> field service support when they run into a problem.
> We have about 8 volumes with about 300 pages each (8.5 X 11 pages
> double
> sided). This makes them very awkward to carry around and a result,
> stay in
> the service van most of the time.
> Each tech also has a laptop computer which they use for remote
> billing,
> email and logging their work time. We are considering upgrading all of
> their laptops and converting all of our paper documentation into
> electronic documentation.
> Our hope would be that we could issue each tech 3 updated CD's every 2
> months that would contain the manuals in pdf, html or something like
> that.
> Do you think this would increase manual usage if it was in an
> electronic
> form?
> Also, since our manuals are considered highly confidential, any type
> of
> public electronic file transfer (the Internet) is out of the question.
> Any suggestions you could provide would be greatly appreciated.
> Jonathan Soukup
> Universal Computer Systems
> jsoukup -at- eskimo -dot- tamu -dot- edu

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