Usability: Tutorial *chapter* or *manual*

Subject: Usability: Tutorial *chapter* or *manual*
From: Sue Heim <sue -at- RIS -dot- RISINC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 7 Apr 1997 16:32:42 -0700

I don't know if any of you have any studies on this or not, so your
personal preferences, opinions, or other ideas are welcome...

I'm working on the manual for a new product. I'm guessing the manual
will be about 350 pages, without the tutorial. I'm guessing the
tutorial is going to be about 150 pages.

So here's the problem. I'd like the tutorial to be a separate manual,
sort of a "Learning Product X" manual that the user can choose to go
thru or not. The User's Guide, the *other* manual, will be more like
a reference guide/user's guide sort of thing. Once the user has gone
thru the tutorial, they will likely only need to refer to the
appropriate chapters in the user's guide to learn a feature or
refresh memory.

So, forget about the cost difference. If you had your choice, would
you prefer to have a 500 page manual that includes ONE WHOLE CHAPTER
on learning the program that is 150 pages long? Or would you prefer
to have a separate "Learning" booklet (likely saddle-stitched, btw)
and a separate user's guide?

This may be a subjective sort of thing, but any and all comments are

Sue Heim
Research Information Systems
Carlsbad, California USA
Email: Sue -at- ris -dot- risinc -dot- com

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