Documentation size?

Yesterday we had a potential client who asked a weird question. This client wanted to know how much documentation we ship with our product. I guess that is a natural question, nurse although I do think it is kind of unusual. (Are they not going to buy the product because there is too much/not enough documentation? I suppose it is possible.)

This client’s question, search however, healing entered the weird realm when we realized that they didn’t want to know how many pages of documentation or how many guides we provide. No. They wanted to know how many bytes of documentation we provide.

I’m scratching my head on this one. How many bytes do you want? Do you like pictures? More pictures means more bytes. I publish the documentation in PDF format. I have two 30 page guides I released with the beta version of our product. One was 300KB (which, since they asked for bytes is actually 307,200 bytes). The other was 800KB (or 819,200 bytes). The guides are the same length. One just has more text and one has more images.


What makes the question particularly difficult is that I haven’t even written the bulk of the content yet for two of the guides. How am I supposed to make a guess at how many bytes they are going to be when I’m finished?

What a bizarre request….

4 responses to “Documentation size?”

  1. People ask the weirdest things, sometimes. Did you ask why he wanted to know in bytes rather than pages or something?

  2. The only thing I can think of is that they were concerned about space on a disk or hard drive or something like that. I get that question all the time… from the build team though, and for them that is reasonable since they are literally trying to fit everything into a certain amount of memory space.

    Then again, maybe your client was trying to act knowledgable like I do when I walk into a car mechanic’s shop. “Ahhh, yeah… I think I might have a loose rotary cufflink converter on the… uh… on the momentum translator sytem. … … yeah.”

    Of course, there is always the third option: The Dilbert Solution. Reminds me so well of the time that the Pointy Haired Boss firmly declared that a mauve CPU had the most RAM.


  3. Kat – I think Dave is right. It must be some weird memory issue. It was part of a larger assessment of the product, so maybe it started with needing to know the size of the various components, and they added documentation as an afterthought without reconsidering the information they were requesting.

    Dave – You make me laugh. The Dilbert and the shop analogies are so right on. At least that is what it feels like. 🙂

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