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Marc Paré wrote:
Le 2010-11-23 15:36, Robert Derman a écrit :

I have said this in the OOo discuss list, and I think it bears repeating
here. One of the biggest problems causing the need for users especially
new ones to need help is the lack of a good users manual. The OOo
documentation site is very confusing, there are too many manuals to
choose from and nothing says anything like "If you are a new user, this
is the one you want". I could be wrong in this, but I don't think that I
am. The only module I ever use with any regularity is Writer. If I can
figure out how to use it, I might use Calc for a personal check
register, likewise I might use Base for a list of all my DVD collection,
but it's Writer that I use daily. I suspect that I am fairly typical in
this, and that perhaps 50% or more of OOo, and now LO users use Writer
far more than they use the other applications. A survey might tell us if
that is so.

Assuming that it is, I think the primary users manual should focus on
Writer, with just one chapter on each of the other modules, and a
pointer to where to download a more extensive manual on each. Where I
disagree with most who write in, is that I think that a basic manual
like I describe *should be in the download package*. In order to keep it
small for that reason, it should be in ODF format not PDF, and it should
be formatted for an 8.5x11 page rather than the usual 5x7 so that it
would be practical for the user to print out without the horrendous
paper waste of the 5x7 format. (Remember all printer paper comes in
8.5x11 or similar) Also keeping it to 100 pages or less will both keep
the download size down, and encourage users to actually print a hard
copy. (a hard copy is very useful because you can read in the manual
while using the software) I find help often less than helpful simply
because it can be difficult to both read how to do a thing and
simultaneously do it. I recognize that a much longer and more detailed
manual is required to completely cover subjects like Styles, but for all
beginners, and most other users a manual like I just described is what's
needed. Probably organized with an introduction to the most used
commands, then a tutorial, then a reference section.

This could be one thing that would set LO apart from other packages that
offer good word processors, Even expensive MS basically sucks in the
area of manuals and user support. Years ago they used to be much better
in this area. Good user support seems to be the first thing that for
profit companies give up when they think they can get away with it. Now
it is time for me to climb down off of my soapbox Robert Derman

Hi Robert. This could probably be easily done. However, adding it to the download may not be a good idea as some of us (there are qutie a few) are already worried about the size of the download. Maybe make advertising of the download a little more obvious would be the solution. Then the user would only have to download the manual at that point. I will leave a note to the documentation team and se what they think of this. I'm sure they will come back with usefull information.


Perhaps we should make more of an effort than OOo did of making LO available on disk as an alternative to downloads. An on disk version could include more documentation as well as many, most, or perhaps all templates and extensions. a CD provides about 700 MB of space which is really a lot, and a DVDs 4.5 gig is almost unlimited compared to the size of what we have to offer.

Perhaps there could be a way for people to use credit card or Pay Pal to order a disk at a price that would help support TDF and yet be fairly reasonable. I think expecting others to provide this was a mistake with OOo, because most sold the disk at an excessive price, usually renaming the package so that people wouldn't realize that they were actually being ripped off.

I am a subscriber to NetFlix and the DVD disks that they send me are shipped in a simple paper envelope and Tyvek sleeve so I know that fancy padded packages are not required, so disks could be shipped as regular world wide first class mail. I believe that this is certainly something to think about.
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