Intellectual Exercise: How would you...

Subject: Intellectual Exercise: How would you...
From: "William J. Hartzer" <William -dot- Hartzer -at- EMC2-TAO -dot- FISC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 19 Jan 1995 19:33:00 EST

**Regarding Tara Scanlon's Intellectual Exercise********

First, I would stop all writing and then cut the phone line to your support
department (grin).

But seriously, I have a few suggestions:

1) Produce professional-quality videotapes that teach your users to use the
software and give them to customers along with your documentation.

2) Hold training classes on how to use your software. Depending on
what type of software you're producing, you could either do the city-by-city
tour across the nation, or go to individual companies that use the software
and do one-on-one sessions.

In any case, you need to TRAIN your users more, using other methods than the
typical paper guides we're all so used to producing.

If users are trained to properly use your software, you would probably receive
less support calls and, as a result, probably not need to produce as much
(excess) documentation.

That brings up another point: you probably need to look at the "whole"
picture. That is, which documentation guides do your users ACTUALLY use most?
Quick Reference Guides? User Guides? Quick Start Guides? Perhaps do a
survey of your users and find out...

Of course, all of this is HYPOTHETICAL, right? (grin)

Hope this helps,
Bill Hartzer, Technical Writer, Fischer International Systems Corporation
Naples, Florida USA

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