Re: Perfect binding vs. 3-ring binders

Subject: Re: Perfect binding vs. 3-ring binders
From: Elna Tymes <etymes -at- LTS -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 26 Sep 1998 18:37:50 -0700

Horace Smith wrote:

> Remember,
> 1. 3-ring binders open flat and stay that way. Try to fix something when
> you have to use two hands to hold the manual open.
> 2. Manuals in binders update easily. If the customer doesn't do the
> update, that's not your problem.

I have a huge problem with writers who misstate things as badly as the above.
First off, 3-ring binders only open flat when there's desktop real estate
available for them - and in most cases, there isn't. In fact, private usability
studies done in the early 90's tended to indicate that office workers had less
and less desktop real estate, and that was one of the main reasons why major
book and software publishers left the idea of 3-ring binders in favor of
perfect-bound books and other solutions.

Secondly, there are a significant number of alternatives to standard perfect
binding. This list has had several dozens of mentions of the 'lay-flat' method
of perfect binding in the last year alone, and 'lay-flat' as a method has been
around for more than a decade. In addition, there are Wire-O binding options,
plastic combs, and assorted other alternatives.

Third, it absolutely makes me livid to hear someone in our profession state " If
the customer doesn't do the update, that's not your problem." What kind of
competent information provider - and solution provider - would even THINK that
way? It is our job to do our best to see that the user has the information
he/she needs, at the time needed and in a form that can be used. Blaming the
user for not keeping track of miscellaneous packets of update pages is a classic
case of refusing to take responsibility for proper delivery of information.

I thought 1970's DOD mentality had been rooted out by now.

Elna Tymes
Los Trancos Systems

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