Re: USA Today article demands printed documentation

Subject: Re: USA Today article demands printed documentation
From: Marilynne Smith <marilyns -at- QUALCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 16 Feb 1999 13:19:51 -0800

I haven't taken to online help because I rarely find the information I need
there. When I do, it's given to me in tiny Sesame-Street bites. I lose

There must be more people like me out there. If a company doesn't give me
a manual, I usually buy a third-party book. Before I become an online
documentation user, it's going to have to be a lot better.


At 01:05 PM 2/16/99 , Eric L. Dunn wrote:
>When referring to hardware I think the article is dead-on. Installation and
>troubleshooting information as a minimum must be supplied in hard copy. For
>software we walk once more into that murky realm.
>However, IMO, all software should come with a minimum of hardcopy manuals.
>Installation, troubleshooting, and introduction. IMO on-line help is good
>for the "I'm stuck and can't figure it out" or similar contextual "How to
>do this" type material. But for a user to be aware of all the functionality
>of a robust software package there needs to be some form of introductory
>hardcopy. Otherwise how is the user supposed to know that the software is
>even supposed to tackle a given task? Or consider how on earth you are
>supposed to figure out how to install or troubleshoot software when the
>on-line help can only be accessed with the system running correctly and
>through the application?
>Any kind of programmers reference needs a hardcopy. Code references are
>best in on-line form where they are browsed quickly and accurately. But it
>is impossible (or at least very painful IMO) to attempt to read sequential
>reference material on-line. While on-line may offer quick lookup and
>browsing if the topic would fill more than half an 8.5 by 11 page, I'll
>argue that printed is much easier to deal with.
>Much of the on-line/hardcopy debate depends on the user (audience) and the
>design of documentation. Either hardcopy or on-line can be worse than
>useless if poorly designed or executed.
>From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000==

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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