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[CASE] Dr.Explain enables Costume Inventory Resources customers, located in various time zones, to get admission to the User Guide at their convenience


Margaret Messick,Owner/Database Designer, tells us that Dr.Explain helps her to create a comprehensive User Guide easy to manage and update, besides available at any time.

DE: Could you please tell us about your projects?

My company is called Costume Inventory Resources ( I design software applications for Theatre companies, Universities and schools to use to catalog their collections of costumes, props and sets, lighting equipment, etc.

I have over 850 installations of my software. Most of my customers are in the USA but I have many customers in over 20 countries. There are 18 different modules – Costume Pieces, Props/Sets, Wigs, Patterns, Jewelry, Lighting Equipment, Sound Equipment, Uniforms, Musical Instruments and more. Although the software is easy to use and the modules work very much the same way each one needs their own User Guide.

Dr.Explain User Guide ( is very helpful to my customers to look something up anytime they have a question.

DE: Please tell us about your role in the company.

My role in the company is … almost everything. I design the databases, write the software, write the User Guide, Resource Guides (i.e. how to install the software, how to resize the photos, etc.), provide user support. I also print custom designed inventory tags and labels for customers to put in their costumes and on their props and equipment. I started the company in 2010 and have worked on my own with a little help from my family and friends.

DE: Why is user help documentation important for your business? What will you gain by your User Guide?

The User Guide is important to my customers to provide them with instructions, screen prints and helpful tips when they need it. As my customers are located in many, many different time zones they can’t always call me for help when they need it. The User Guide is always available to them – whenever they need it. Anything that is important to my customers is important to me.

DE: How did you manage to solve the problems with help docs before? What software did you use for that kind of work?

Before I started using Dr.Explain I tried to write the user guide in a word processing software and publish a PDF to my website. It was very hard for anyone reading it to find anything. The formatting was difficult as there were many screen prints and they didn’t always fit on a page. Also – my software has many features and options so the document became very long and it was difficult to manage.

DE: Did you compare Dr.Explain to other solutions or ways?

I did compare Dr.Explain to other on-line documentation software but found it suited my needs best. It was the easiest for me to use.

DE: Why did you choose the Dr.Explain software?

The features I liked were the Menu, Index and Search. It is very clean and easy for my customers to find just the section they need. I also like that they can download a PDF of the guide but not a lot of customers do that because the main User Guide is over 400 pages! It is very easy to update when I add new features.

DE: How do the results influence your business?

I have customers tell me that they like the User Guide. They often print out sections to give to their staff to review before they start using the software. They also email me to tell me if there are mistakes or sections that are not updated! Having a comprehensive User Guide is good for my business as it shows that I take my software and my customers seriously and want them to succeed.

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To learn more about Costume Inventory Resources please visit

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