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IMHO, depends on your goal. If the quick start's purpose is to install the
product, for example, or set up for first use, then you need it in paper
format. Or if your users are using basic computers or terminals, then you're
limited to the technology you can use.
To orient users to a product and shorten the learning curve, I like
multimedia quick tours (or previews). I love Quicken's (Deluxe 99). They put
a lot of thought into theirs (I think they call them overviews). For me,
quick tours are the first step in the learning process, and when done right,
they're interesting and very informative (effective and efficient, I guess
you could say).
My company likes to include a quick start guide with each
update. The guides run ten to fifteen pages for each update
and are created
directly from the help file.
I wouldn't consider a fifteen page (including screen shots)
to read. Most of the information applies to novice users.
I don't have
much experience creating documentation; however, I believe
the guide should
be short and to the point without a screen shot for each
What is your experience with quick start guides? What about
PowerPoint presentation? How can I improve upon the guide?