Re: New TECHWR-L Poll Question

Subject: Re: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
From: Dan Emory <danemory -at- primenet -dot- com>
To: "Tim Altom" <taltom -at- simplywritten -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 03 Jul 2000 14:21:44 -0700

Your lengthy response to Murrell describes precisely what I intended to convey in
my terse initial comment.
At 03:00 PM 7/3/00 -0500, Tim Altom wrote:

And to which I now say...

Granted that Dan's response may seem terse, but I can see that large-scale
usability testing might tend to put a lot of long-time practitioners into a
bad light. Too many in our industry have produced dreck over a long period
of time. If usability studies were performed on their supposedly superlative
work and made it appear not only wanting, but downright shabby, jobs could
be lost as a result.

I see several reasons why clients shortchange usability work, and most of
them relate back to their maturity levels. Level 1s and 2s have little
patience for planning and feedback. It's the 3s and above who believe in any
kind of feedback, and they're rather rare in the software world, which is
where most of us earn our bread.

It's also true that many tech writers labor in a tiny little cabin apart
from the rest of the organization, and that any usability initiatives must
originate from them, because the other departments won't think of it first.
Never having done usability, and having unjustified faith in their own
heuristics, many tech writers suffer from terrible hubris. If they have
neither passion in their work, nor fear of being wrong, then they have no
motivation to institute feedback.

| Nullius in Verba |
Dan Emory, Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971 E-Mail: danemory -at- primenet -dot- com
10044 Adams Ave. #208, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
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