Re: what doc formats do READERs want ?

Subject: Re: what doc formats do READERs want ?
From: "Monique Semp" <monique -dot- semp -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TechWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Dec 2011 09:08:58 -0800

Not sure if we've wound down on this, but (and jump to the end if you want to see the summary and question refinement) ...

Wow -- lots of excellent philosophical discussions around this topic! I'm surprised at how many people (and the high percentage of you in agreement) say that readers will still want PDFs as a primary doc delivery mechanism -- provided of course that it's appropriate for the information being delivered.

Certainly the discussion hinges on the audience & info -- print API docs are user UN-friendly and HTML is much easier for programmers to use (as well as being the preferred output for many of the better approaches to producing the docs in the first place).

My current user base is not API-using engineers, but SaaS application users: decision makers, integration engineers who integrate their own e-commerce websites with the SasS app, and the dominant user base -- not the e-commerce website's users but the client's B2B users who are performing admin/monitoring type work using the client's SaaS app's functions (via the client's Dashboard, for which their users have secure accounts ).

So we think it'd be best to deliver more point-of-delivery help -- embedded and context-sensitive content in the app's Web-accessed Dashboard -- but for the other things we're still thinking about whether users will want more:

* Knowledge Base articles,
* Videos,
* Shorter more focused PDFs (regardless of the authoring tool, which still could be either Word or a more "modern" flexible tool),
* HTML-delivered instructions (not for the integration efforts, which are so long - 100-page PDF of instructions and code segments -- but for the easier, shorter instructions for the admin/monitoring functions through the Dashboard),
* Wiki pages (whether moderated or user-community-and-editable),
* User communities/forums,
* Something I haven't thought of?



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what doc formats do READERs want ?: From: Monique Semp

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