FWD: One User's Guide for Multiple Products

Subject: FWD: One User's Guide for Multiple Products
From: Anonymous Poster <anonfwd -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 6 Jul 1999 07:59:39 -0600

Dear Techwhirlers,

Earlier this year my company released a new generation of a software
product that has been available for a number of years. Users can be anyone from
temporary secretarial employees to database managers. Now we are working
on a de-featured version of the product and I'm being asked to write a User's
Guide that will document both the "Regular" and "Lite" products, with notes
about features that aren't supported or work differently in the Lite product.

My initial reaction was that such a manual would be difficult for readers
to use, and might even take more time for me to produce than a separate
manual. (Some of the features being pulled out for the Lite version have
far-reaching implications for other features.) Nevertheless, I understand that there
may be long-term cost savings to maintaining and distributing only one version of
the document, instead of two or more--there are sketchy plans for an "Ultra"
version of the product, too.

Please give me any information you have on:

1. Research that addresses usability of multi-product documentation. Do
people have trouble filtering out information that doesn't apply to them, or am I
worrying about a non-problem?

2. Key words to use in a search of the Techwr-L archives to find previous
discussions of this topic. My attempts have been fruitless.

3. Examples of multi-product documentation that works well.

Thank you for your help,

A. Nonymous

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

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