"Two-track" documentation?

Subject: "Two-track" documentation?
From: Joanne Meehl <Jmeehl -at- datum -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 10 Dec 1999 12:20:02 -0500

Hi all,
I know our Numero Uno Law as technical communicators is "write for
the audience" and of course, I live by that. But what happens when the book
is a reference guide that will be used by two audiences? The groups are
software developers, and network administrators/office managers/anyone else.
For our division's product, this is how the audiences break out.

Have any of you done this? If so, how did you do it--did you
separate out the material? Or print the simpler stuff on the left, more
complex stuff on the right? Or did you just let the reader find their way on
their own? (I lean toward this last idea, because users seem to select the
resources that help them and ignore the rest.)

To the purists among you, please don't flame me for asking the
question. I know writing a book like this would break "the rules", but I'm
trying to think outside the box on this.

Thoughts? Examples? Thank you!

Joanne Meehl

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