Reprinting a manual before new software version

Subject: Reprinting a manual before new software version
From: Darren Barefoot <dbarefoot -at- MPS-CANADA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 30 Jun 1999 14:19:03 -0700

Good morning,

Here's today's conundrum: I work for a software development company. In
December of 1998, we released version x.0 of our product. A newer version
(x.0 + 1.0) will no doubt be forthcoming some time down the road (at least
4-6 months away, I would guess). In the meantime, we are running out of
manuals and are planning a reprint. However, the manual has been
significantly updated to reflect functionality changes and generally become
better. However, it's unlikely my company name it version x.1.

So, new buyers will get new manuals with version x.0 that have different
(i.e. more accurate and up-to-date) info from existing customers who bought
version x.0 in the past six months. We're talking maybe a 10-20% change, but
of course spread out over the entire manual. What should we do to the new
manuals (besides changing the copyright page) before the reprint to reflect
this? Options include:

1. Do nothing. Users who compare old manuals and new manuals can be
2. Include a one page insert describing the changes, and then hope it gets
lost so users with the old manuals don't necessarily clue-in that they've
got out-of-date docs.
3. Include "change bars" along the top or sides of new sections, thus
advertising that the manual has changed.
4. Something else entirely.

Any thoughts or comments would be appreciated. Thanks. DB.

Darren Barefoot
Technical Content Developer
1-604-904-0822 ext.112
<mailto: dbarefoot -at- mps-canada -dot- com>

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