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In fairness to Kaylin, you actually quoted me. -Rick
From: techwr-l-bounces+rick=rickquatro -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+rick=rickquatro -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of John Allred
Sent: Wednesday, January 14, 2015 11:13 AM
To: Kaylin Boehme
Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: "INSTRUCTIONS NOT INCLUDED"
"The iPhone may come with brief instructions, but there are a bunch of
iPhone "manuals" (third-party books) on Amazon.com. Plus, as you mentioned,
there are tons of videos on YouTube. Whatever your learning style, there are
plenty of resources available, even if they are no longer provided by the
I wish you were right, Kaylin. However, I see the same problems with
documentation that have always existed. Manufacturers either have
documentation groups, or they contract out to smaller companies, who don't
understand--or care for-- the very function they are performing. "Good
enough" really is not, particularly for complex devices that accomplish
their numerous functions through deep and non-intuitive menu structures.
I bought a new radio for my car a couple of weeks ago. Came with a printed
manual in the obligatory four languages. The company's online documentation
is merely a PDF of the printed manual. There are no YouTube videos and no
user-written help docs on the web to explain how to manually enter FM
stations in the three tiers of presets, for a total of 18. The manual tells
you that you can fill the presets manually, and it tells you how to fill
them with an auto search routine, but it does not actually tell you how to
fill them manually nor, for that matter, how to access positions 7-18, once
they've been filled.
When I wrote manuals, I sought answers to questions like these, because I
knew some users would want--or need-- to know. Someone mentioned how they
read manuals, cover-to-cover back in the 90s. I did, too, and became my
employers' expert as a result. I know we all understand that precious few
people ever did this, or ever would. But, the point is, the detailed
information was present in many of the manuals from that time. My Microsoft
Office and Ventura Publisher boxes weighed 6-8 pounds, each, included
multiple bound volumes, and took up from six to ten inches of shelf space. I
get that documentation in those days was incredibly expensive both to
produce and ship.
I don't find that same level of inquisitiveness present in anything written
nowadays. Maybe the budget for documentation has been so severely reduced
that curiosity is simply too costly. The problem may also lie in the "simple
interface" concept. To me, "simple" means "obscured." Devices are no less
complex than they used to be. People may be less curious, though.
> On Jan 14, 2015, at 7:44 AM, Kaylin Boehme <kaylinboehme -at- quadax -dot- com>
> Seems to me that as the need for printed/upfront documentation fades away
thanks to advances in UXD, the importance of "official documentation" will
be in helping the consumer with those advanced features that you don't find
on the surface.
> As for Rick's comment on image-based society, I will grudgingly refrain
from comment because I could talk about that all day!
> - Kaylin
> -----Original Message-----
> Craig Cardimon | Senior Technical Writer Marketing Systems Group
Doc-To-Help: The Quickest Way to Author and Publish Online Help, Policy &
Procedure Guides, eBooks, and more using Microsoft Word | http://bit.ly/doctohelp2015
Doc-To-Help: The Quickest Way to Author and Publish Online Help, Policy & Procedure Guides, eBooks, and more using Microsoft Word | http://bit.ly/doctohelp2015