RE: The Old Argument: FrameMaker vs. MS Word

Subject: RE: The Old Argument: FrameMaker vs. MS Word
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "'Mark Baker'" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 2000 11:49:19 -0500


I just don't get this point of view. I guess I'm not only not in my right
mind but also not a 'human being". I think there are a whole bunch of us
out here who happen to be outstanding writers, analysts, AND designers.
I've always gotten high marks from my superiors, clients, and end users for
the accuracy, completeness, comprehensibility and visual appeal of the
documentation I've provided. Never a complaint on poor quality, and until
recently, I've always been the lone ranger. Do I spend 60% of my time on
DTP tasks? No way, it just isn't that difficult to design a visually
appealing document (but then I had basic training in layout and design ages
ago.) I bet I spend that 60% testing the application, asking questions, and
pondering the impact of upcoming system enhancements.

The hiring criteria for hiring me and my cohort in crime was
writing/editing/research/design/production ability, technical aptitude,
initiative and experience. You can be certain that neither of us would have
been hired if the only thing we wanted to do was write.

Writing and writing only may be the perfect environment for you. Don't
assume that it's a perfect environment for everyone who happily calls him-
or herself a Technical Writer. I'm a mult-tasker by nature, and if I had to
do writing and only writing, I'd be bored senseless.

My $.02

Connie Giordano
Senior TW, DTP specialist, Word troubleshooter, Help author, GUI designer,
trainer, and Chief Cook and Bottlewasher

-----Original Message-----
From: Mark Baker


I wasn't saying that most companies don't demand that writers also be layout
artists. They clearly do. I was saying it is a bad thing and that they
should stop doing it.

Technical writing is very hard. It requires a high degree of mastery in two
difficult areas, technology and writing. To add any more burden than that is
to ensure poor quality results in every aspect of the job. No human being
can be really good at that many different things at once.

If they spend 60% of their time on layout and production related jobs, you
need more than twice as many writers to complete a project.


The proper way is three writers, one editor, and one desktop publisher or
one text programmer. The criteria for hiring writers is writing skill and
technical knowledge. The result is high productivity, good results, and
enhanced job satisfaction.

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