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Hire David Sawyer McFarland

Thread began 1/11/2010 12:34 pm by tone397472 | Last modified 1/13/2010 9:30 am by Office Guy-172461 | 2200 views | 13 replies |

tone397472

Hire David Sawyer McFarland

My advice! Hire David Sawyer McFarland (from The Missing Manuals) and let him rewrite all the manuals in a engaging, clear and funny way. Like all the excellent books he has written! Saves you 80% of the hours you spend now on answering the questions, because of the dry catalogs you call manuals. I have never encountered such a bunch of unclear, uncreative and uninspiring written manuals as the WA ones.
Greetings David

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Anna Robinson

We rely on our customers to help us improve - so feedback is always welcome. Exact issues you experience with any of our Guides, How Tos, FAQs, etc. would be very useful to point out. Please post (or continue to post) in the product forums if there are concerns or issues with any certain documents. We'll consider "inspiring" and "creative" as a documentation wishlist request.

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tone397472

Quote: Exact issues you experience with any of our Guides, How Tos, FAQs, etc. would be very useful to point out.

Did you read my post? Your answer proves exactly where the problem lays in your company!
Because what you are talking about has nothing to do with my advice.

I bought the Dynamic Suite and Form Builder. All the documentation that comes with it is written by people who know exactly what they are writing about, but don't know how to translate it in a way most people understand.

So I made a form in HTML, CSS and PHP code in 10 minutes like I always did and forgot about the programs, because I have no time to find out how it all works (workarounds etc.) and wait for a reply for a couple of days.

It is not a specific part it's the overall way it's all written. Better invest in a good writer then a support forum and organize email support like every company is offering. And what about just one manual with all the products in it. You only print out what you need. Now it's a labyrinth of PDFs and tutorials on your website. Never seen something like it. And it certainly doesn't make it more clear. You really have to search for information. Better make one good manual then this.

I will believe that the extensions are top of the range! But they will only function proper when your clients know exactly how to use them and get this explained in a easy, clear and imaginable way and don't forget HUMOR! And I'm afraid that's not the case at the moment.

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Office Guy-172461

Originally Said By: tone397472
  Quote: Exact issues you experience with any of our Guides, How Tos, FAQs, etc. would be very useful to point out.

Did you read my post? Your answer proves exactly where the problem lays in your company!
Because what you are talking about has nothing to do with my advice.  



I think Anna was asking for specifics.

  Now it's a labyrinth of PDFs and tutorials on your website.  

I think the move to html documents with links to supporting pages as needed are a step in the right direction. This allows the more experienced user to skip areas they already understand while giving the complete picture for others.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to find the document I was going to use as an example because the links at the bottom of the site seems to have disappeared. I found those to be the fastest way to get to the section you needed.

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Neil Beadle

Hey OfficeGuy,

We cleaned up the footer to keep the links visitor's seemed to be using. Which one was it that you found the most helpful? There may have been a reason, but if it helped people find documentation, then we may want to put it back.

-Neil

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Office Guy-172461

Originally Said By: Neil Beadle
  Hey OfficeGuy,

We cleaned up the footer to keep the links visitor's seemed to be using. Which one was it that you found the most helpful? There may have been a reason, but if it helped people find documentation, then we may want to put it back.

-Neil  


Don't remember exactly, but I think it was the one called More...

It just took me to a general area where I could find what I was looking for. People new to the site are going to see things differently than those who know what they are looking for, but don't remember where to find it.

Maybe you could put a small graphic at the bottom that didn't interfere with the design, but when clicked, it took you to a list of all of the document areas quickly.

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Anna Robinson

I know the technical level of our Writer has been discussed in other threads so I don't know if it's worth mentioning, but he is not a developer and never has been. Clearly, he's closer to the subject matter, having spent years with WebAssist, learning and writing about the product line, so I'm sure it's challenging to write for all audiences, particularly with the volume of documentation we put out. With your feedback on documentation (as all topics), we will strive to continue to improve. The most helpful feedback one can give is specifics. We will take in all comments, positive and negative, but the general ones are harder to make strides with.

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Office Guy-172461

Just discovered that the link I was looking for is hidden in the Support title in the footer. Even after I found it once, I later forgot how I got to that section, and had to look for it again. Maybe it just needs to look more like a button.

I really like the Support & Documentation page. You can get to just about everything from there.

support/

I think the Support part is what's confusing me. I'm not looking for support, I'm looking for documentation.

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tone397472

quote: but the general ones are harder to make strides with.

I think it's the opposite. When you go in detail you can talk for years about it and get no where . I started this topic, because of my frustration reading the manual of Form-Builder then I had a look at all the other manuals from the Dynamic-Suite.
All the extensions have to work together, but I could not find a manual explaining me this interaction in one clear simple story, a tutorial where all extension play their part (a video combined with a PDF).
I suggested to hire *David Sawyer McFarland (from The Missing Manuals) for this reason. All the Missing Manuals explain complicated subjects in a clear and intelligent way.
Subjects who have more involved then a extension like Form-Builder, and I still understand every book they published. Why? Because of the overall Intelligent, clear and funny way it's written.

*He is even recommending Web Assist Extensions!

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neilo

Hello Anna,

With respect, if a constant stream of 'specifics' is required to be fed back to you by your customers in order for the documentation to be adequate, then there is certainly something amiss with the process that creates and releases it.

This isn't about 'us and them', it's about recognising and acknowleding that there is a fundamental flaw in the way that the process is working.

I'm not focussing exclusively on how things a written, I'm more concerned that WebAssist doesn't see the missing pieces or have the documentation properly evaluated and blind-tested before sending it out. It's not a hard concept to grasp: Find someone with some flat-page Dreamweaver experience, and give him\her a project to do using the existing documentation and the tools for dynamic developement and observe and record.

The man-hours it would save you in support work would surely make it cost-efficient. Keep the specifics coming, but please don't discount out-of-hand each time the possibility that there may be something lacking in the QA process.

You are not the people who use the documentation to get things working, your customers are. As such it is a little disingenuos to refer to specifics as helpful, and therefore imply that the 'general' isn't. It is the 'general' that appears to be the problem here, not the specifics. A persistent inability to consider that as a possibility really isn't helpful.

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