Re: Discuss: Third party manuals?

Subject: Re: Discuss: Third party manuals?
From: Linda Anderson <lindaa -at- PC-SERV1 -dot- EMTEK -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 1995 08:05:36 -0700

In response to Geoff Hart's question, I can give a couple of reasons why
I think third party manuals do so well.

One is that they often times seem to be written more for the
program-illiterate in mind. I have a Pagemaker manual and also an after-market
Pagemaker manual published by Que. I much prefer the after-market version
because it seems (to me) that they assume less, so they take a more
simplistic approach to explaining some things.

I also think that, because these are writers who weren't around as the
product was being developed, they include little tips on how to use
shortcuts for functions that the manufacturer's manuals don't think to
include. A good example of this is a newsletter published by the Cobb
Group (called Inside Word for Windows). I've learned a TON of shortcuts
and EASY ways to do things in Word that the manual never explained.

There might be a lesson in that for all of us, considering the recent
thread on what degrees should a person have if they were to do it all over
again and still be a technical writer. IMHO you can definitely become too
intimate with your subject matter to communicate information optimally.

Then there's also the fact that once I loaned a manual to a co-worker and
forgot to get it back. The manual and the co-worker have since
disappeared. :(

Have a great weekend!


In hearing, there is wisdom. In speaking, repentance.

EMTEK Health Care Systems
Tempe, Arizona

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