--== Survey Results ==--

Subject: --== Survey Results ==--
From: Eric Haddock <eric -at- ENGAGENET -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 14:38:06 -0500

A week ago I asked people on this list a few brief survey questions. The
questions were:

1. Do you use Macintosh or Windows in your technical writing?
2. Which would you _prefer_ to use if you had the choice?
3. Do you spend more time writing or with grapic design issues--or is it about
the same?

It's just a basic unscientific informal kind of survey. Why did I ask?
General curiosity, really. People wanted to know the results so I know my
interest in the topic is shared by at least some of us... :)

I wish I had asked people to explain why they preferred one system over
another because the survey results were really interesting and I'd like to
know about some of the reasons. But, I didn't asked 'cuz then it wouldn't
have been a "brief" survey then, hmm? ;)

About 75 people have responded over the past week.

First, what do we use (including respondants who use multiple platforms)?

Macintosh - 33%
Windows - 38%
Windows95 - 10%
WindowsNT - 3%
UNIX - 14%
Other - 2%

What do we prefer (including respondants who use multiple platforms)?

Macintosh - 49%
Windows - 26%
Windows95 - 4%
WindowsNT - 2%
UNIX - 14%
No pref. - 5%

More respondants prefered Macintosh than were actually using them and
Microsoft never had as many prefer it as were using it (in any incarnation
of Windows). UNIX users are in harmony with their lives, with as many
preferring it as were using it.

Since more people preferred Macintosh than used them, I had to go back to
the responces and came up with the following:

Mac users who prefer Macintosh: 140%
Windows users who prefer Windows: 60%

Regardless of platform used or preferred, what do we do with it?

Writing - 55%
Graphic Design - 6%
Both @ 50/50 - 38%
Other - 1%

Easily the most common response was: "Writing, but it's 70% writing, 30%
design." I marked such responses as "writing."

General conclusions and fun facts drawn from comments, not just the hard data

* If you're a writer, chances are you use Microsoft.
If you're a designer, it's virtually certain you're a Macintosh user.
If you do both in a real 50/50 situation, you probably actually have both
platforms on your desk--but you're 90% more likely to prefer Macintosh.
If you're a garden variety technical writer with a typical 70/30 mix, then
you'll likely use both platforms from time to time. Which one is always on
your desk? It's hard to say really but if you indicate a preference, it'll be
for Macintosh. (I say hard to say because so many of you have both systems at
once or use one then the other for periods of time--this is especially true
of consultants; company employees have said they have had control over the
platform they use.)
* Quite a few commented that they have Windows at work but a Mac at home (I
counted such responses as using Windows only for the survey data, btw).
* More women than men responded.
* Windows users were mostly men, Macintosh mostly women.
* Rabid devotion for systems wasn't gender-specific.
* Many people, when they indicated their preference, included a qualifier:
"But I've never tried Mac..." which I thought was interesting because no one
said "But I've never tried [any of the other systems]..."
* There were certainly more rabid ("my platform or die!") Mac users than
Microsoft users.
* One respondant preferred DOS--just DOS--over everything else.
* Only one respondant indicated more interest in the software used than the
platform it was on.

When people would elaborate on their preference, by a 5:1 ratio more
people commented on the Macintosh than any other system.

Some of the interesting comments:

>Mac. Definitely. Death before Windows!

>I have NEVER used a
>Mac for tech writing. The only time I ever used a Mac at all was when I
>volunteered with a social services delivery board about 10 years ago. I
>vowed never again.

>I use UNIX and love it.

>Given a choice, I'd much rather use OS/2 for technical writing.

>Fully functional multi-tasking can make life much easier, even in little ways.

>No preference anymore. I like Mac and Windows, and honestly don't see
>much difference between the two any more.

The most interesting comments were:

>Mac. Actually, if the client just specifies "Windows format" but doesn't
>ask too many questions, I do the work on my Mac, then save the FM, PM, or
>Word file in Windows format on a PC-formatted disk. I haven't had too many
>problems with this.

>Most of the time I end up using the Mac (without letting my Mac-phobic
>clients know) to write and illustrate on, and then I port the work to the
>PC. Word is great for this, the Mac and PC formats are pretty compatible.

(No one indicated they use Windows for Macintosh clients.)

Something I thought I'd never hear:

>I hate WYSIWYG.

And on the subject of writing vs. design:

>Writing, by far. Design is fun, but it's over too quickly.

>Most of the time is writing, but graphics design can chew up a
>disproportionate amount of time.

And finally, what about myself?

Use Windows and soon to add a Macintosh.
Prefer Macintosh.
Writing/design mix is 50/50.

Thanks to all who responded!
/`-_ Eric Haddock, Technical writer
{ }/ Engage Networks, Inc.
\ | Located in the Historic Third Ward of Milwaukee, WI
\__*| eric -at- engagenet -dot- com
http://www.engagenet.com/eric/eric.htm <-- corporate
http://www2.corenet.net/moonlion <-- personal

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