User Manuals -- Are hardcopies available?

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Floyd Johnson | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 30 2015 4:37 PM

Eli Evans:
We include a very few illustrations in the current help manual where a prose description won't suffice.
The problem is that what suffices for the knowledgeable user is different from those of us who are learning to use the software - remember "a picture is worth a 1000 words."

Blessings,
Floyd

Pastor-Patrick.blogspot.com

Posts 819
LogosEmployee
Eli Evans (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 30 2015 4:51 PM

Floyd Johnson:

The problem is that what suffices for the knowledgeable user is different from those of us who are learning to use the software - remember "a picture is worth a 1000 words."

I don't disagree. I know that many people respond better to words and pictures than just words, and I would like to include more images. We're not doing that right now, though. Here's why:

Not very many people know this, but I wrote the documentation resource for Logos 3/Libronix. It had many screen shots, which I took and cropped as I wrote the articles. That was back in the day when we only had PC and no Mac, and we only supported the software in one language. (The UI came in many languages, at various levels, but we only had product lines for English. Maybe Spanish toward the end. Memory fades with age.)

When we moved to L4, the style at the time (2009 seems like aeons ago!) was to put help files into sidebars. (I'm thinking of all the Office applications on PC, and other Windows programs, if that helps.) The idea was that the software would be its own screen shot, because you'd have the help in a narrow little strip and you could still see the program.

Plus, including images is a royal pain. If you change the software, you have to also find and update the pictures along with the text, or the help gets less helpful. It also means you can't even start writing any help articles until after the software has passed final inspection for visuals (this is surprisingly late in the game, usually). Plus, screenshots can't be translated, they have to be re-taken (and re-cropped, and they're never the same size or shape). 

So: It seemed like a good idea to go prose-only. It was the style ala mode, and it got rid of a major hassle.

But ease of learning suffers. Especially now that we're back to a large-format Help file (it's a resource panel now), and it's no longer in a sidebar (and that style never caught on, wonder why) we can reconsider this strategy. 

BUT

I before I go adding in a bunch of screen shots, there are much bigger fish to fry. The help text itself still needs editing and expanding first. And even if we do eventually add screen shots, we're not going to add them as liberally as (say) the Logos wiki does, because at a certain point it just becomes a distraction.

That's all just to say that I'm not philosophically opposed to including more screen shots, just that there were some historical circumstances and are other considerations ahead of it.

Posts 1062
Lew Worthington | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Oct 30 2015 5:26 PM

Eli Evans:

Plus, including images is a royal pain. If you change the software, you have to also find and update the pictures along with the text, or the help gets less helpful. It also means you can't even start writing any help articles until after the software has passed final inspection for visuals (this is surprisingly late in the game, usually). Plus, screenshots can't be translated, they have to be re-taken (and re-cropped, and they're never the same size or shape).

You're bringing back some horrible work memories for me. Years ago, I had to support a legal application that was updated annually along with the documentation. This documentation included screenshots which I also had to produce. As you say, not only did I have to locate and update the pictures, but since you can't really do a CTRL+F for text on the pictures, you have to carefully examine each one for changes to screen differences. Having endured that tedium, I, for one, understand your position.

Posts 237
C M | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 1:06 AM

Eli Evans,

 

Thanks for your efforts to express what so many others failed to grasp or were unable to say in any satisfactory way. Your multitude of words comes as a babbling brook before a thirsty man on a parched desert, hoping it’s not a mirage.

 

I don’t know if you are mouthpiece or spokes-person who has the authority to fulfill the needed request or just having the capability of repeating the same thing in a different way.

 

I don’t care to add to the multitude of words if I can be heard and the appropriate action taken and the tangible is made available.  At this juncture, all I want from the Faithlife Corp, Logos Bible Software Division is a printed manual to accompany the packet that I purchased. (All the challenges of the old days can be for another day).

 

Everything the engineers developed, FL packaged, advertised, and sold, I want a manual to explain how to use the data sets and features offered in it. This is not too much to ask. In fulfilling such a request, you are not doing the customers a favor.  It’s simply doing right because it’s the right thing to do. I bought into the Logos system for the books and to utilize the features to its fullest extent. It wasn’t my desire or intentions to be scampering around in forums, depending on fellow users, seeking direction for basic functions to operate Logos Bible Software.  I long to utilize this software, to its fullest extent. I want to enjoy it, invest more, and to tell others around the world. This is not my present experience.

 

I prefer a printed manual, but a compromise, could be a digital manual in one place with automatic updates by knowledgeable skilled employees who understands the function, value, and purpose of the Logos Bible Software. To do so, it will keep customers from having to search the forums to understand a simple updated function of operations. This will keep people informed, skilled, and using your product as designed. The more people use, like, and enjoy Logos, the more they will buy and tell others. This is not difficult. The same way you update books, your can update the manual. This may put Morris Proctor and other trainers, out of business or give them less business.

 

Afterward, if one needs (and many will do) additional training or hand holding by MP and others, so be it. Just don’t deny or deprive people of helping themselves and making choices, especially, in the USA.  Although, it’s not impossible for a company of your size and customers usage to provide a printed copy to customers, but it can be done.  Unless your Public Relations (PR) numbers are exaggerated, you can make available printed manuals, if you choose to, for the following reasons:

  1. All of your customers are not requesting a printed manual.
  2. All of your customers may not need a manual (many are tech-savvy).
  3. In an extreme situation, if all customers “demand” printed manuals, that’s the price of doing business. You wouldn’t go bankrupt over explaining to your customers what the engineers have designed.  You may have a smaller profits margin, but go out of business, unless you’re not as solvent as you purport to be. We’re not asking for trade secrets here.
  4. The official statement on print manuals: “Faithlife will NEVER produce a free printed reference manual” by Bob on this “policy back in 1999-ish”, is not from heaven nor was it written on two tablets of stone with the finger of God. It can be changed or modified. “Never say, never.” Don’t box yourself in and don’t block customers out. Things that are fixed and changes are required, for survival, they break. I know, it may be Bob’s company, but this is not Bob’s world. Customers Matter!
  5. You’re not newcomers to the marketplace. Have you and the MVPs, or whomever Bob empowers, to speak for the Logos Bible Software Division, not heard about the statistical ratio of satisfied -vs- unsatisfied customers?

 

We are at the point of, why gives words, when actions are expected, needed and appreciated. How long must we wait on an updated manual? I hope not long. It has been sometime since L-6 and now, L-7, shortly.  You’ve gathered information and monitored Logos users for years, this data alone would tell you of the (who, what, when, and how) extent of the unitization of your product. If it’s proven that you care more about producing and pushing data sets and features over customer’s ability to understand and use the product, it would speak volumes about the Faithlife Corp. Take charge of the message and messengers, protect the name of your company and the unitary of your product. Let’s cut through the chase and make haste (updated manual, please).

 

This shouldn’t be too difficult or too long in coming. This should have been done some time ago. Tech writers are too far behind in describing the functions of what the engineers produced. Employees skilled in instructional-manual writings should work closely with developers ever being mindful of the non-tech users.

 

I say to you, Bob and the Faithlife Corp, in light of JFK’s Inaugural Address:  Ask not, how little you can do for the Logos customers, but what more can you do to help the customers to understand and to use the Logos Bible Software?

Posts 25972
Forum MVP
Graham Criddle | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 1:58 AM

Charles

In his post Eli did say

"The suggestion to have a downloadable PDF that you can print on demand is worth considering. I'll look into what that would take to do."

I suggest we see what he comes up with

Graham

Posts 36062
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 2:06 AM

We can already print the Help document - the user may direct it to a PDF printer. It does need some images added ... as well as some additional detail. But I think what many people want is a manual that tells them how to use the tools to achieve their purpose rather than a manual that tells them what the tools do.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 237
C M | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 4:32 AM

MJ. Smith:
We can already print the Help document - the user may direct it to a PDF printer.

Yes, I am aware of this.

MJ. Smith:

I think what many people want is a manual that tells them how to use the tools to achieve their purpose rather than a manual that tells them what the tools do.

You're spot on, MJ, with the first part of the above statement. Really, is it too much to have both, the "How" and the "What" in a printed form and with regular updates  in a fixed location or sent like updates to the books? It's always better to have customers know that FL hears and cares than to just hear that they care. When it comes to functionality, who care about the number of pages or volumes (printed)?

Oops, this should have been sent to Bob and Eli. It needs to be in the eyes of those who can bring about changes, sooner rather than later.

Posts 237
C M | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 4:56 AM

Graham Criddle:

I'll look into what that would take to do." I suggest we see what he comes up with 

As long as it satisfies and not an appeasement. Namely, because "appeasement doesn't please."

Graham, I don't know what influence you have with and on, Bob and/or Eli. In light of what needed, a higher power will have to speak to them because it will cost a changing of minds and time. However, I have faith that Faithlife will do the right thing.

Posts 4
Philip Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 7:09 AM

A well organized updatable pdf manual with easy to understand examples would be great. Big Smile

Thank you.

Posts 819
LogosEmployee
Eli Evans (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 8:06 AM

Howdy, folks. Message received. The only thing I can promise for sure is that we're listening and will continue to improve.

Even so, I'm sure I won't be able to satisfy everyone. I don't see a wholesale change in our documentation strategy in the near future, just incremental improvements upon what we've been doing thus far. If you crave examples, then the videos are probably a better fit for you than the on-board help reference. If you crave a paper manual, then printing the existing help works today, and I'm still investigating options for adding a PDF output as a side-effect to our current help reference publication process.

Feedback is always welcome. Concrete criticisms are more likely to be addressed more quickly than general ones. Wink

One such I hear here is that the language is too "techie." A certain amount of jargon is unavoidable when talking about software systems, but would it help if we more aggressively defined our terms? (I assume it couldn't hurt.)

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Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 10:59 AM

Eli Evans:
but would it help if we more aggressively defined our terms? (I assume it couldn't hurt.)

Yes - especially where terms are not immediately obvious (layout, pane, tab, window, ...pop-ups?), are unqiue to Logos (right-click Context Menu), or are ambiguous (Community tags).

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 36062
Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 11:05 AM

Charles McNeil:
Really, is it too much to have both, the "How" and the "What" in a printed form and with regular updates

From my experience with 3rd party training videos that are well done, I would say it is too much to ask because it is impossible. The user base is too diverse trying to achieve quite different goals with varying degrees of accuracy required, using the same terms for processes that are quite different, etc. And as the wiki has illustrated demanding different levels of detail.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 819
LogosEmployee
Eli Evans (Faithlife) | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 11:13 AM

MJ. Smith:

Eli Evans:
but would it help if we more aggressively defined our terms? (I assume it couldn't hurt.)

Yes - especially where terms are not immediately obvious (layout, pane, tab, window, ...pop-ups?), are unqiue to Logos (right-click Context Menu), or are ambiguous (Community tags).

At one time I wrote an internal glossary to help marketing people keep on message. All those terms were on it, and more. I'm sure that could be adapted and added to the Glossary section of Help. (Why didn't I think of that before?)

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Forum MVP
Bruce Dunning | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 1:40 PM

Eli Evans:
At one time I wrote an internal glossary to help marketing people keep on message. All those terms were on it, and more. I'm sure that could be adapted and added to the Glossary section of Help

That's a great idea! Yes

Using adventure and community to challenge young people to continually say "yes" to God

Posts 237
C M | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 5:51 PM

MJ. Smith:
From my experience with 3rd party training videos that are well done, I would say it is too much to ask because it is impossible. The user base is too diverse trying to achieve quite different goals with varying degrees of accuracy required, using the same terms for processes that are quite different

MJ,

You're not saying Logos is too big to explain, illustrate or to be simplified? Where there's a will there's a way.

Posts 237
C M | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 6:03 PM

Eli Evans:

The only thing I can promise for sure is that we're listening and will continue to improve.

Even so, I'm sure I won't be able to satisfy everyone. I don't see a wholesale change in our documentation strategy in the near future, just incremental improvements upon what we've been doing thus far.

Eli, 

Your statement reminds me of an American politician. This sounds like a 100% of nothing.

On a more serious note:  "I don't have to eat a whole cow to know that I have eaten a piece of beef."  Your "message received."

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 6:14 PM

Charles McNeil:
Your "message received."

In other words; "A word to the wise is sufficient." 

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

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Forum MVP
MJ. Smith | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Nov 4 2015 8:59 PM

Charles McNeil:
You're not saying Logos is too big to explain, illustrate or to be simplified?

No, I'm saying that it is a tool like outlining, mind maps, note taking, argument mapping, flow charting ... that can be used in a myriad of ways for a myriad of purposes. It can easily be simplified, explained and illustrated for a small group setting where a group of people are working towards a similar goal.

What I am saying is simply that Logos is more like Excel where MS documents how the tool works but 3rd parties tell you how to build a time-keeping system, or manage projects, or build work schedules, or any of the myriad of applications you wish to do. The documentation of what it can do is improving and is what Logos has committed to. They provide videos, 3rd party products and the forums for how to apply the tool

Charles McNeil:
Where there's a will there's a way.

But not necessarily one that is practical or affordable. If you have the expertise to design a manual for something like Logos, there are a number of ways you can use that gift for the benefit of the community. For example via the wiki which can then be converted to easily printable form. Or share via Tip of the day which can then be collated into a user manual. Or use your skill to organize the currently available content and show us what holes exist and how to organize a print out facility.

Edit: to put it another way, when someone asks "how do I use feature X" my reaction is "how would I know?" - I can give examples of different ways that it may be used but I have no idea if they apply to you in your use of Logos. However, when someone asks "how do I find piece Y of information" - I can usually give 2 or 3 ways to achieve your goal.

Orthodox Bishop Hilarion Alfeyev: "To be a theologian means to have experience of a personal encounter with God through prayer and worship."

Posts 237
C M | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 5 2015 5:46 AM

MJ. Smith:
Logos is more like Excel where MS documents how the tool works but 3rd parties tell you how to build a time-keeping system, or manage projects, or build work schedules, or any of the myriad of applications you wish to do. The documentation of what it can do is improving and is what Logos has committed to.

Come on, even in an electronic or digital form (compromise)? Let's not get lost in the weeds here.

MJ. Smith:
But not necessarily one that is practical or affordable. If you have the expertise to design a manual for something like Logos, there are a number of ways you can use that gift for the benefit of the community.

We are not talking about extremes here. Let's keep the main thing, the main thing. Basic functional usage of a product sold to millions. Many are at the beginning and others are advanced. Everyone will not use everything, at the same time. There are different pages or section of a blueprint, but each section is explained for the builder. Whatever, Faithlife produced, it should be explainable, regardless of cost or practicality. It's their product. Faith life has a product it produced, advertised, sold and some segment of it is too to costly to explain and impractical? 

There are many areas in  math even if one is not at an advanced level, a document exist to explain it, when I get there.  So, your "not necessarily one that is practical or affordable", is a dog that won't hunt.

It seems like anything beyond what has been is impractical or too costly, minus a few tweets here and there. Logos need to produce one ongoing updatable manual. if you think it to impractical to print it, then... 

If it so impractical or out of date, why is Morris Proctor selling printed manuals? Why does Faithlife, allows him to sell "out of date " manuals [some have purport a printed manual will be] using the Logos name? Faith life "can't have its cake and eat it too." Does this mean that Doc. B. can sell his self-developed manual? Doc. B has not asked me to promote anything.

MJ. Smith:
For example via the wiki which can then be converted to easily printable form. Or share via Tip of the day which can then be collated into a user manual. Or use your skill to organize the currently available content and show us what holes exist and how to organize a print out facility.

Why can't Logo employees use this information in an updated printable manual at certain intervals? Given that we're at Logos 6.5...???  (thou knoweth how long this will go), a printed manual will be practical to produce at this point.

Thanks for your efforts. I know you have invested (way of purchases) greatly into Logos, but not an investor. I was hoping that Faithlife wouldn't be so "penny wise..." and see that a printed updated manual is beneficial to all.

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RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Nov 5 2015 10:32 AM

Charles McNeil:
Why can't Logo employees use this information in an updated printable manual at certain intervals?

Bob Pritchett, CEO and owner of Faithlife, has told his employees to work on certain things like programming, resource tagging, book scanning,  contracting new resources, Sales, tech support, Logos NOW, Logos Cloud, Proclaim, Mobile Ed, and a myriad of other things, He has had them provide user helps with Quick Start videos, Logos Pro, Webinars and a printable help file. He has also said they will not be printing a paper user manual.

Be aware that Bob's first book, "Fire Someone Today", might be a motivator to the employees to do what they are told. After all, this is not his first rodeo.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

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