RE: Tech Writer/Designer Horror Stories

Subject: RE: Tech Writer/Designer Horror Stories
From: Jan Bishop <JBishop -at- hach -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 25 Oct 2000 14:33:20 -0600

I guess my worst came when I was asked to design a diskette to go into a kit
for grade school science classes. It was to have everything in HTML and a
duplicate set of .pdf files in case the classroom had no computers. (This
should be a red flag, having two sets of data to keep parallel.)

The project manager refused to let the SMEs and me talk to each other
directly, the deadlines danced around as if possessed by demons, and two
weeks before the "absolute" deadline, anyone who could approve the project
went on vacation.

After the text files were made, the project manager and his sycophant
assistant continued to make major edits, and "because of the rush" gave the
electronic files to someone else to pick up the edits. He proceeded to
remove most of the formatting. . .

After working 60-hour weeks, missing holidays and some sleep, it got done.
My thanks was having the sycophant standing in my office yelling
uncontrollably, "Don't you even CARE about your work?"

-----Original Message-----
From: Bill Hartzer


Since Halloween's coming up, I thought I'd pass on some horror stories with
dealing with clients. Got any of your own to add?

"One day I got a call from a client. She was furious and screaming that I
had scanned her photos poorly - there were lines all over the photos. So I
looked online at the original images. The lines she was talking about were
telephone lines and some fence posts! I explained, but she insisted that our
scanner was adding them. I didn't know what to do or say."
"A client was a motivational speaker known for helping control freaks give
others the freedom to do their jobs. He should have taken his own advice!
Once he came to my office to "proofread" my work, but ended up dictating
what should go where and which colors, fonts and point sizes to use. When I
got up to answer the phone, he sat down at my computer and started
redesigning everything!"
"Our company has an annual coloring contest for employees' children each
fall. I drew some cute pumpkins for the kids to color. My boss offered to
drop them off at the printer. The special of the day was orange paper at a
price cheaper than white paper. Needless to say, his face turned red when
the printer delivered pumpkins for the kids to color printed on orange
"Our client gave us a wrong phone number. And it was printed on 5,000 pocket
folders. The client wondered if we could use an X-Acto blade to scrape away
part of the number 8 to make it look like a 6 on all 5,000 folders. We gave
them a bulk pack of blades and wished them luck."
"I showed the client my work and he said, 'That looks just great. I love it.
But just one thing. Can we change the typeface to Helvetica?' I asked why
and he said, "Those ad guys on my favorite TV sitcom were talking about it
last night!"
"A client in an alternative health field contacted me to design a 3-fold
mailer. She had her copy written and had suggestions for the layout - but
asked me to take it from there. I wish! She proceeded to micromanage the art
and design - saying she wasn't getting good energy from this point size or
that photo. This went on for two weeks with a gazillion little energy
tweaks. Made me crazy!"

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