What are the Basics of a Useful Document?

Unanswered Question
Jun 30th, 2011

After trying to configure some non-Cisco products by using their product instructions the past few weeks, I was reminded of a few basic rules of good technical writing.

  • Always test your instructions and make sure they work! After multiple tries, one product's instructions clearly didn't work. I sat back and reasoned out what they actually might have meant to say. With some creative thinking, I was able to finish configuring the product.
  • A product may be wonderful, but if no one knows how to use it, it's worthless. After trying to use obviously wrong instructions, I checked the Internet for more help. The company didn't provide any other instructions. There were however many, many posts from individuals warning people to not buy the product because of the inability to configure it. Some individuals tried to help by creating their own You Tube videos and written instructions. Unfortunately they were for different releases, so I returned the product. I then bought a competitor's product that the individuals promised had useable instructions.

Sometimes it's easier to know what you want in configuration instructions when you are reminded of what you don't want. What are the basics that you've run into (positive or negative) when using a non-Cisco product? We can always learn from other's successes or failures.

I have this problem too.
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Posted June 30, 2011 at 4:15 PM
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