I had a happy Monday this morning when a fellow in for a training class
sought me out and shook my hand for writing a good upgrade guide. He
said he gave up reading documentation about 5 years ago when everything
started coming out on CD and seemed to be written overseas by people who
didn't use the product. He had lost confidence in all user
When he was forced into an upgrade of our product, he was glad to get a
printed upgrade guide (it is a complex procedure) and he was happy to
see that it accurately reflected his experience. 
In this case, the primary motivaiton to read the manual was the
complexity of the task he faced. After that, the availability of a
printed manual made him feel like we were serious about helping him to
succeed, and the accuracy of the material helped him keep his confidence
up as he soldiered on through the long, scary process. He says he will
now continue to read our documentation because he feels he can trust it.

John Sgammato
Principal Technical Writer
Imprivata, Inc

-----Original Message-----
From: framers-boun...@lists.frameusers.com
[mailto:framers-bounces at lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Sharon Burton
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 10:22 AM
To: 'Shmuel Wolfson'; 'Garnier Garnier'; 'Framers'
Subject: RE: Motivating end users to read the user manual

Have you considered sitting with the users and asking them what the
issues are and why they don't like the materials? Don't defend what
you've done, listen to why these materials are not doing what you think
they should be doing. Ask questions, lots of questions.

It could be as easy as they are visual learners and they need flow
charts and other graphics. It could be as complicated as they never see
the training materials because those get locked away somewhere. Perhaps
Job Aids and Quick Starts would help. 

But until you talk to the users and find out what they need that they
aren't getting, you're only guessing. You don't get to decide the docs
are sufficient, tho - your users get to decide that. 


Sharon Burton
IM: sharonvburton at yahoo.com
Blog: madcapsoftware.wordpress.com

-----Original Message-----
From: framers-boun...@lists.frameusers.com
[mailto:framers-bounces at lists.frameusers.com] On Behalf Of Shmuel
Sent: Monday, May 18, 2009 6:47 AM
To: Garnier Garnier; Framers
Subject: Re: Motivating end users to read the user manual

The fact is that people don't like to read. Exhaustive training material
is "exhaustive" to read.

If there are specific "do"s and "don't"s that are *not* intuitive, make
a short 1-3 page list, print it on color paper, and put it in the box
with the product. That they might read.

Shmuel Wolfson
Technical Writer

Garnier Garnier wrote:
> Hi listers,
> I would like some feedback on this issue which I am sure most of us
Please write to me directly as most of the time the mails form forums
bounces and I do not receive them. Not sure about the reason. 
> I put in a lot of effort to create an exhaustive training material. It
includes all information in detail and all the steps too are
documentented in simple English. The training material is very technical
and includes all the required details and instructions. Still none of
the engineers bother to read the contents and when they are at the
customer site for training they start complaining that nothing is
working. The engineers are familiar with the product no doubt about it
but there are certain "do's" that they ought to know and which is
documented in the training material which none bother to read. 
> I welcome suggestions for improvement in the document or otherwise 
> that
will prompt the end user to read the training material contents instead
simply complaining "nothing is working". 
> B/R
> Garnier


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