I have a large equine veterinary application (CW 6.3.9058) that I began in 2003. I keep it current, mostly based on questions and/or suggestions. I still provide documentation but not via HELP. I have help buttons that do nothing and no one has ever asked about that.
I had written a full users guide, about 500 pages, for the precursor DOS version of this application. I don’t believe anyone read that guide. Users go directly to the telephone or e-mail with questions.
Beginning with the windows version (2003) I took a different approach and wrote papers on different aspects of the software. I provide them as PDFs with lots of screen prints, about 115 so far, many megabytes. I actually enjoy creating this documentation. I’ve asked a few users if they’ve looked at the papers. A few say they have.
Recently, for the fun of it, I built a mechanism, accessible from within the software, to select and directly read any of these PDFs. I try to title them clearly. I am curious how that will be used.
You guys know the old canard (?) “RTFM”. Sometimes I think that, but NEVER say it, though I try to remind them of the papers. More usefully, I find the questions informative how my users think or use the program. As much as I try to wear many hats, when I write this stuff, I’m amazed what users think to do or how they approach things. “Why didn’t I think of that?” “I never thought anyone would ever do that.” People are funny and often very clever.
I continually learn something new and useful with the questions that I get asked. My app has gotten better because of it. I’ve had a lot of fun interacting with them. Many of them are friends that I have never met.
Best regards to all,