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Gordon & Gordon is a partnership of two award-winning writers who specialize in technology, Gordon Graham and Manuel Gordon. Our clients hire us to explain complex products and to persuade demanding customers. And we share our many years of experience through practical, cost-effective consulting and training.


Success Stories

Gordon & Gordon have solved many important business problems for our clients.

We are especially proud of these successful projects

Technical Writing Success Stories

Marketing Writing Success Stories

Need Help with a Writing Project?

Whatever your problem, we can help with innovative, cost-effective solutions like these. To turn an impossible project into a success, call Gordon & Gordon today!


Tech Writing Success Story:

Pay for a Writer, Get a Whole Team

Problem: No budget for a documentation team.

For a rush project, a small software firm needed a team of a writer, editor and designer.

But they had budgeted for only one writer.

Solution: The company hired Manuel Gordon, who brought in a senior technical editor to design the FrameMaker template, an experienced designer to lay out the Web page, a novice editor to do the index, and a trainer to initiate a new hire (Manny's replacement) into the mysteries of FrameMaker.

With the client's permission, Manny looked after the non-disclosure agreements, folded the consultants' fees into his invoices, and supervised their work on and off site, while still concentrating on his main job: writing the documentation.

Results: Despite the short deadline, the client got a useful, indexed, attractive and well-written documentation set... all within the original budget.

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Tech Writing Success Story:

Six Weeks to a Trade Show

Problem: SDK documentation urgently needed for trade show.

A young company needed to show the alpha version of its physics- and computational geometry-based SDKs at a crucial trade show in six weeks. Naturally, the key developers were too busy writing code to work on documentation.

Solution: To get up to speed quickly, Manuel Gordon studied out-of-date specs, documentation for abandoned products and even physics textbooks.

Then he drew up a detailed table of contents and found a sidelined developer and a top manager with time to draft text.

Manny cut, pasted, revised and FrameMakered their drafts into three PDF-based Developer's Guides.

For the reference manuals, he helped choose a documentation generation tool (doxygen) and convince developers to write comments in the source code that doxygen could extract into HTML-based Reference Manuals.

Manny held the whole doc set together with an HTML frameset and an eye-catching graphic.

Results: In just six weeks the documentation was ready. At the trade show, the product attracted considerable attention.

Here's how a reviewer compared a later version of the alpha documentation to the finished products of two competitors:

 

"... the best of the three packages. The manual is very thorough with both a user's guide and complete reference to all the classes in the architecture."

After many revisions, the doc set still resembles Manny's original design.

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Tech Writing Success Story:

Expertise at a Distance

Problem: No expertise documenting SDKs.

A Chicago-based telecom manufacturer needed a Web site to support its first-ever SDK. It assembled an impressive team of instructional designers, Web developers and technical writers... but no one had ever documented an SDK.

Solution: The instructional designers subcontracted a major part of the SDK documentation to Manuel Gordon.

For two months, Manny worked with programmers, managers and team-mates to research and write the text.

And he did it all from his own office, except for one day of meetings in Chicago.

Results: The Web site was ready by the deadline, and the content exceeded the high standards of the instructional designers. The SDK documentation has been updated and is still in use.

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Tech Writing Success Story:

Architecting a Complex Set of Docs

Problem: System too complex for staff writers to understand.

A software developer created a complex job management system on top of its existing multi-layered file transfer product. The add-on was too complicated and required too much platform-specific knowledge for the company's in-house technical writers to deal with.

Solution: With his in-depth knowledge of telecommunications and operating systems, Manuel Gordon acted as project leader.

He outlined a new manual, planned new chapters in existing manuals, wrote the most demanding chapters and supported the other writers. Working with the development manager, he also simplified the user interface.

Results: The company was delighted. The development manager sent this note:

"Excellent work! You are such a genius! I wish you could be my personal tech writer and design with me!"

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Tech Writing Success Story:

Giving Programmers What They Want

Problem: No time for comprehensive documentation.

A software developer needed to document an object-oriented SDK. With the beta release looming, there was no time to produce both a comprehensive reference guide and a developer's guide.

Solution: As a former programmer, Manuel Gordon understood that developers want quick results by cutting and pasting sample code. They only consult manuals as a last resort.

He recognized that the sample programs provided with the SDK were working prototypes of the real applications that customers wanted. Manny shifted energy away from documenting little-used functions in the reference manual to explaining the code samples that programmers could use right away.

Results: The beta SDK was released right on schedule. The reference documentation was expanded for the final release.

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Tech Writing Success Story:

Winning Rave Reviews

Problem: Poor documentation hurting sales.

A contact management package had excellent features but poor documentation. This hurt sales and created an unnecessary burden on technical support.

Solution: Using audience and task analysis, Gordon Graham identified problems with the existing library. Then he planned and wrote a whole new doc set of more than 500 pages, including three manuals, a reference card and online help done with RoboHelp. Thanks to good planning, it was all finished in just three months.

Results: The package became a leading contender in its category.

The new documentation was praised by reviewers in numerous magazines:

InfoWorld logo

"The User's Guide is thorough, clear, well-organized..."

"We rate documentation Good."
ComputerShopper logo

"The manual is clearly written and easy to follow."

Computing Canada logo

"Documentation is well-organized and contains helpful hints... intensely practical, like the software."

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Tech Writing Success Story:

Making Software Easier to Learn

Problem: Software too hard to learn.

A software firm had the most powerful product in its class. But first-time users found it hard to learn.

Solution: In just a few weeks, Gordon Graham recycled an existing set of tutorials into a Getting Started guide with simpler language, more screen captures and clearcut steps.

Results: Everyone loved the new guide, including reviewers.

Unix Review logo

"We felt the UIM/X documentation was the best of the five tools reviewed. A thorough beginner's guide is included... We are impressed."

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Tech Writing Success Story:

Rescuing a Project

Problem: Online help system gets scrambled.

A financial services organization planned to deliver a new application. But just days before it was due, the online help system wouldn't compile. The in-house writer could not figure out what was wrong.

Solution: In three days Gordon Graham reviewed, reformatted and debugged the entire help system and coached the in-house writer on key points in using RoboHelp.

Results: The help system was delivered on schedule, and the product went into acceptance testing without delay.

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Tech Writing Success Story:

Saving Developers Time

Problem: Developers' time eaten up by technical support.

A middleware company had a product that could be configured in thousands of different ways... but couldn't figure out how to document it.

As a result, the middleware developers were spending hours on the phone to help with nearly every install.

Solution: Gordon Graham recognized that the system formed a matrix with five universal steps in its installation. Working with the VP of R&D, Gordon created a set of 38 installation procedures, one for each item in the matrix. A complete installation guide consisted of 5 to 10 short documents that were simple and economical to assemble.

The documentation aimed to cover the most common 80 per cent of the installs, leaving the other 20 per cent to call for technical support.

Results: Once the installation guides were well underway, phone calls to developers dropped by 75 per cent.

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Marcom Success Story:

An Award-Winning White Paper in Two Weeks

Problem: White papers needed urgently for trade show.

A middleware developer needed white papers to explain technical details about their products. But no one had the expertise to write them... and the most important trade show of the year was just a few weeks away.


 

Solution: The company brought in Manuel Gordon, who qickly held high-level meetings with all the VPs involved.

He started by writing a table of contents, then expanded it through daily drafts to build two white papers in parallel.

Meanwhile, Gordon Graham worked with an illustrator and did daily edits and desktop publishing.

In less than 2 weeks, both 14-page white papers were ready to go.

Results: The sales force reported the new documents saved them hours of technical discussion, and helped move prospects along the sales cycle.

The same documents were used for years without change.

One of the white papers went on to win an award from the Society for Technical Communication (STC).

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Marcom Success Story:

Standing Out by Telling a Story

Problem: No persuasive difference between competitors.

A company had an unusual niche: selling middleware that connected bar code readers to ERP systems. But with several competitors chasing every prospect, it was tough to stand out from the crowd.

Solution: Gordon Graham suggested telling the company's story in simple words and pictures.

 

Working with a playwright and a graphic designer, he put together a colorful 48-page booklet. The story featured Victor the VP and Martin the Manager walking through their plant, chatting about what a big difference the client's system had made to their business.

The resulting booklet was short enough to read in a few minutes. But no competitor had ever done anything like it.

Results: The booklet was used for years as a "trophy" given to qualified prospects. And everyone loved it.

The President of the related trade association said, "This book is a must-read... It gets right to the heart of explaining how bar code technology can help companies get or maintain a competitive edge."

One VP commented, "My wife read it and says now she finally understands what I do for a living!"

And the West Coast account executive noted, "Whenever I give someone this book, our company shoots right to the top of their list of preferred vendors!"

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Need Help with a Writing Project?

Whatever your problem, we can help with innovative, cost-effective solutions like these.

To turn an impossible project into a success, call Gordon & Gordon today!


How to Contact Us

small photo of Manny

 

How to reach
Manuel Gordon

Tel: (514) 934-3274
(Eastern Time)


Email Manny

small photo of GG

 

How to reach
Gordon Graham

Tel: (705) 842-2428
(Eastern Time)

Email Gordon

 
 

© 1999 – 2013 by Gordon Graham & Manuel Gordon