Re: Can a Technical Writer be a Web Designer

Subject: Re: Can a Technical Writer be a Web Designer
From: "Joyce Fetterman" <joycef -at- gtsoftware -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM
Date: Tue, 15 Feb 2000 12:48:11 -0500

Andrew Plato wrote:

>Tech writing is not the same as web development. To be
>employed as a web designer you need special skills. <snip>
>Good web designers have strong programming and graphic
>design skills. Writing skills are virtually unnecessary. You might
>not agree with this, but most places hiring web designers do
>not care about writing proficiency.

Sadly, that's true -- many employers looking for Web designers do not
care about writing proficiency. But it is becoming an issue for more and
more sites, as visitors rebel against poorly-written pages with numerous
typos and lousy grammar.

I read an article that differentiated between Web "viewers" and Web
"readers"; most sites are aimed at one or the other, not both. A
"viewer" site is mostly concerned with whiz-bang effects: lots of
eye-candy. That *does* require a lot of special Web design skills.

"Reader" sites are designed to impart information, and these sites
require good writing far more than special effects. That's not to say
that the advanced Web design skills aren't needed, but content writers
are the backbone of reader sites.

Companies with "reader" sites would be a better option for a TW looking
to break into Web design.

(I started learning HTML when I was assigned to create a company
intranet. It wasn't pretty, but it *was* functional, and it was
definitely a "reader" site!)

Just my two cents...
Joyce






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