Re: How to Publish a Great User Manual

Subject: Re: How to Publish a Great User Manual
From: Derek Thornton <info -at- THORNTON -dot- DE>
Date: Tue, 24 Nov 1998 19:29:56 +0100

>The site is called Ask Tog:

I have just read two of the articles, Beverly, (one about Manual Writing and
one about bad Web sites) and can confirm that this site contains some very
sensible advice. Thanks for the tip.

I only wish I could put the advice to some use, though. To be able to write
task-oriented manuals you first need to have a task-oriented customer. I
never met one yet. As for the recommended target of producing manuals that
also make good bedside reading, well, I feel that writers that can do that
are unlikely to be knocking themselves out writing software manuals. Tog's
critic of software manuals that are just reworked feature lists and
specifications has me feeling very sad, too. I am right now writing a
software manual for a program for which the manufacturer has neither a list
of features nor a specification. I am just not in Tog's league!

The scorn poured on manufacturers whose web sites are full of 'brochureware'
(they scan their brochure and have it converted to HTML + GIFs - and are
proud of it!) is justified but that work provides a good part of my income.
How am I going to convince my customers that it is a dumb idea? They are
just going to give the work to somebody else. I have just finished
translating a manufacturer's web site that is almost an exact copy of his
44-page brochure. And then he makes a big splash offering an email form so
that surfers can order a copy of that very same brochure that will then be
sent to them by post! And, as 'Tog' predicts, there is not one word in it
about his distributors and how to find them! How can I break the news to my
customer that he is on the wrong track?

Derek Thornton
Technical translator
Postfach 101801, D-75118 Pforzheim, Germany
info -at- thornton -dot- de
Member ATA, VDE, DTT, tekom, STC, HWG, SCTE
Tel: +49 (0)7231 965023
Fax: +49 (0)7231 965024
Mobile: +49 (0)171 7521512
CompuServe: 100612,1124
AOL: thornton9

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

Previous by Author: Re: Technical name for the #?
Next by Author: Re: How to Publish a Great User Manual
Previous by Thread: How to Publish a Great User Manual
Next by Thread: Re: How to Publish a Great User Manual

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads