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Well, we are overhead. And, nobody reads the manual
(online help) anyway.
Why not stop, for a sec., and consider your (pl. to
the list) own use of online help. Do you? If you do,
what do you think of the help for your main weapons?
1) Adobe FrameMaker: in general, poor. Mostly, the
info is in there and poorly indexed. The online help
is a poor example of single sourcing and the printed
book needs more pictures and more big picture info.
For example, pretend you don't know what a series
label is, and try to find out why your numbered lists
aren't working the way you want. Online books (PDFs)
are a secret that really should be hooked back into
the Help menu. Best support: lists and user forums.
2) Microsoft Word: in general, poor. Slick, but poor.
Search provides way too many hits, the index seems
like an afterthought. The printed documentation . . .
well, is there any? Best support: lists.
4) Quadralay WebWorks Publisher 7 Pro/2003: I think
the printed doc and online help are good. The index is
okay, and a search usually gets you what the index
missed online. Universal gripes include poor
documentation of XML output and lack of macro language
documentation. Best support: lists.
5) Yahoo Mail: online documentation and support
stinks, is uninformative, and slow.
6) Adobe Illustrator/Photoshop: same problems as
FrameMaker docs, if you don't know ahead of time, you
are likely not to find the answer. Same support, too.
7) Microsoft Outlook: Online help better than Word,
because searching yields fewer hits (and fewer
irrelevant ones). Printed docs? MS lists are
hit-and-miss for outlook.
8) Techsmith SnagIT: I've not used the online help,
but their forums are responsive.
9) Macromedia Dreamweaver MX: I don't spend much time
in DW, but I've found the online documentation to be
good and content-rich. I can't say it's the best of
the bunch because I've not used it enough.
Well, aside from Media Player 9 and notepad, that's
all I have running right now
--- Sharon Burton-Hardin <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
> Complete article at
> Looks like we are not doing as good a job as we want
> to. And consumers are
> complaining. Good ammunition for those of us who
> need to convince our
> clients/boss that it is important the help - and by
> extension the manual -
> need to be useful and not a second thought.