Scrivener's manual - skim the fat

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Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:26 pm Post

devinganger wrote:
Dreischock wrote:To the member of Scrivener support team who said that the manual is not meant to be read cover to cover why then include it in the first place?

An encyclopedia isn't meant to be read cover to cover, so why do we bother with them?

You gave your feedback, you were given several reasons why the L&L team don't agree. Obviously, they don't agree. Why keep tilting at windmills?

A manual isn't an encyclopedia, it's a guide on how to use the app. I replied because I was replied. It doesn't matter whether L&L agree or not. They should take notice of what their users want and act accordingly.
Last edited by Dreischock on Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:29 pm Post

kewms wrote:
Dreischock wrote: I read every manual of every application I use in order to get manufacturer's perspective and avoid unnecessary ambiguity in the future.

And yet you're complaining about the detailed discussion of the manufacturer's perspective in the Scrivener manual. Ok.


You cited a wrong sentence to support a very inaccurate conclusion of yours. I talked about the style. And yes, I complained because I find "manufacturer's perspective" flawed as opposed to that of Adobe and Apple. I made specific arguments why, I referenced other examples. And so?
At this point I can't add anything new and I don't want to utter the same repetitive lines that themselves are self-contained and substantiated.

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Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:26 pm Post

Dreischock wrote:It doesn't matter whether L&L agree or not. They should take notice of what their users want and act accordingly.

Even if you actually believe that broken philosophy, with just the briefest glance at the participation numbers, that is exactly what they are doing in this case.
Devin L. Ganger
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Tue Feb 04, 2020 3:27 pm Post

Indeed, I appreciate all feedback on the manual. Can it be improved? Always. In fact the area you highlighted in a screenshot has been trimmed and refactored quite a bit in the newer revisions (you’re looking at something that is many years old now). The almost exclusively descriptive nature of the first revision was a thing that topped the list in negative criticism, and the new revision breaks out much of the paragraph format into subsections and lists.

There is still quite a bit of design discussion, particularly in areas that we know to be speed bumps in the learning process, but it is now easier to skip over these sections if you are familiar with the topic, and browse quickly to the more pragmatic instructions on what X, Y and Z do.

Unfortunately this change in format (along with a more expansive typesetting style and design) resulted in a physically longer manual! I recall a while back I tried typesetting it using a more traditional stylesheet, with roughly the same number of screenshots the old manual had, and despite v3’s massive feature set expansion over v2, it only came out a bit longer than the v2 manual. It was not terribly out of step with other PDF manuals for complex and broad software, like Nisus Writer Pro, BBEdit and others.

So appearances aside, steep cuts were obviously made—and as such I’ve come to empathise with why some companies do not provide PDFs and put all documentation into thousands of isolated and interlinked HTML containers: that way you never really know how much is there!

That said, and as devinganger hints at, we do receive primarily positive feedback on the manual as a whole, overwhelmingly so. It always surprises me how many people write in telling us they’ve read it from start to finish out of pure enjoyment. There are always going to be those that prefer another style of course (some quite loudly so—there are always going to be those One Star Reviews for any written work). Personally, I find Apple and Adobe’s documentation to be rather tedious, even wasteful in that often it simply restates what the very interface itself has to say. My favourite manuals have always been those that talk not only about what a feature does, but why it works that way, and how it can integrate with other features, along with our usage of those features.
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Tue Feb 04, 2020 5:51 pm Post

Ha, Ioa that is exactly my view of the Adobe manuals; I've used Illustrator for years and I want more detail not just a facile set of steps I can easily surmise from looking at the UI itself. I really dislike their manual style...