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Subject:Re: USER Guides From:Mark Baker <mbaker -at- OMNIMARK -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 17 Dec 1998 17:13:21 -0500
Robert Maxey wrote
>It is simple..... The average customer wants a book.
Not quite that simple. The average customer wants information. They ask for
a book because that is how they expect to receive information.
Books certainly have virtues that online information does not. Since PDF has
virtually no added value to compensate for the lost paper values of
portability and resolution, few customers can be expected to prefer it. But
I much prefer the online programmers manual that comes with Visual Basic to
the paper manual. I can highlight a keyword, press F1, and get the
information I need. And I don't have to change contexts to do it.
Point is, online information has to add value in order to appeal to
customers. Many attempts to create online information subtract value rather
than add it. But it is possible to add enormous amounts of value to
information online -- value that cannot be provided on paper. We should not
dismiss online just because some customers have expressed a very reasonable
preference for good books over bad online presentations.
The debate should not be about paper vs. online. It should be about how to
add value to information in any and every media.
Manager, Technical Communication
OmniMark Technologies Corporation
1400 Blair Place
Canada, K1J 9B8
Email mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com