Re: Prod reviews--why not include doc???

Subject: Re: Prod reviews--why not include doc???
From: David Castro <techwrtr -at- CRL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1999 07:40:05 -0800

>(I have a point, and I'm getting to it...) Which brings me to a question:
>why is it, that when I read Product Reviews in various
>technical/computing publications, I can almost *never* find 1 comment on
>the quality of the doc, hard copy or online! The only focus is on the
>product itself!

The publications I read (PC World, PC Computing, PC Magazine, Accounting
Technology) have all started including opinions of documentation in their
reviews...especially when you look in the Editor's Choice or Best Buy parts
of comparison articles.

I think it's a great move, and one that I anticipate seeing more of over
time. There are fewer and fewer "new features" in software applications.
There is more emphasis these days on Total Cost of Ownership, which relies
heavily on learnability, UI design, and documentation. (At least, this is
my impression of the business sector...flashy new features will probably
always carry the day in the consumer market.)

Sue Heim, who I believe used to subscribe to this list, and who is well
known on several other technical-writing-centric listservs, told me at the
WinWriters Conference that the product she documents was reviewed in a
computer security magazine. They actually had a separate category for
documentation, in which the doc was given 5 stars out of 5. (None of the
other categories for that product got 5 stars, incidentally!)

-David Castro
techwrtr -at- crl -dot- com

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