Re: Changed topic to skills we need - Warning! I am wordy.

Subject: Re: Changed topic to skills we need - Warning! I am wordy.
From: "Sharon Burton-Hardin" <sharonburton -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 22 Jan 2000 09:04:00 -0800

Tony said:
| The problem with Technical Writers who also devote a significant amount of
| their energies in learning DTP, pre-production, etc, is that they
inevitably
| decrease there efforts in doing the above mentioned stuff. Usability
| suffers greatly!
|
| Many Technical Writers actually appear to be trying to hide from having to
| tough analysis/estimating work by "jumping into an ocean of technology".
I
| see this same phenomena occurring among the product developers - the
"race"
| is on to see how can have the thickest C++ manual on their bookshelf - or
| the most "tool" books. Meanwhile, there isn't a decent flow-chart
in-house
| and no serious attempt is made at estimating (Project Management).

No learning is ever wasted. The time I spent in the trenches learning the
pre-production stuff has paid off on every project I have been on. Every
one. I can offer the client a range of What we can deliver the manual as and
why each option has good and bad things about it. The time I spent learning
document design/DTP - again in the trenches - has paid off similarly.
Usability has increased for all my documents/online help/templates/etc. We
have won contracts because we tell the client why we are using a particular
template/online look and can back it up with usability testing results and
other research, usually from cognitive psych.

We also work from plans in my company. We estimate how long things are going
to take and work to those plans. And - pardon the caps here but this is
really important - WE CAN ONLY MAKE THOSE ESTIMATES BECAUSE WE KNOW HOW
LONG/WHAT CAN GO WRONG IN THE DTP/PRE-PRODUCTION/EVERYTHING ELSE DEPARTMENT.
The time we "wasted" learning the other stuff pays off because we know
exactly how long something is going to take to do. We have lots of books on
our shelf. They are reference books we are in a lot. I don't give a flip for
whether we have the most or thickest, these books are very useful.

I think you are narrowing your world for other reasons. I teach tech writing
and several software programs at the local university. I see people like
you. You may want to look at why you need to narrow your world to be so
small and what might happen if you decided to learn things you think you are
not good at. For example, I take karate classes simply because it is hard
for me. I don't think I am terribly coordinated and the classes push my
envelope. It feels good to master something I worked so hard to learn. I
will never be a pillar of karate. Fine. But I am learning that my limits are
the ones in my head. Word of caution, though, don't hit your karate master
in the head with your bow. Oops!

sharon

Sharon Burton-Hardin
President of the Inland Empire chapter of the STC
www.iestc.org
Anthrobytes Consulting
www.anthrobytes.com
Check out www.WinHelp.net!
See www.sharonburton.com!







References:
Re: Changed topic to skills we need - Warning! I am wordy.: From: Anthony Markatos

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