Re: Can a Technical Writer be a Web Designer

Subject: Re: Can a Technical Writer be a Web Designer
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: becca_price -at- yahoo -dot- com, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 09:22:41 PST

Tony Markatos responds to Becca Price (see below):

Is tech comm for the web fundamentally different than for a book (lets say an end-user manual)? The main requirement for highly usable paper-based documentation is for it to be organized based upon a rigorous understanding of the end-user's goals. Yourdon & Associates say that this is ninety-eight percent (98%) of the REQUIRED work. Hackos (among many others) say that these goals are technology independent - they will not change as the delivery vehicle changes.

Do design considerations vary between paper-based and on-line. Yes, maybe significantly. But, provided the end-user analysis is properly performed, design - no matter how radical from the past - is fairly easy. It is only when analysis is not properly done that design becomes very difficult. As Yourdon would say: Don't worry about the 2% if you have the 98% done correctly.

Note: Addressing that users tend to "scan" web-pages (vs. read paper-based pages) is done during design.

Becca Price said:

It's gradually sinking into "common knowledge" that
folks use the Web differently than they do books.
It's not just a great library on line; we don't *read*
web pages so much as scan them. Jared Spool has some
wonederful information available, and I could list a
few other great books if anyone is interested. (can
you tell that this has been a hot topic of research
for me lately?)

Tony Markatos
(tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com)

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