Re: Assuming too much responsibility

Subject: Re: Assuming too much responsibility
From: "Chuck Martin" <twriter -at- mindspring -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 2000 15:35:10 -0800

"Jim Shaeffer" <jims -at- spsi -dot- com> wrote in message news:77143 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roy Jacobsen [mailto:rjacobse -at- GreatPlains -dot- com]
> We can't assume someone else's responsibility, no matter how much we wish
> could. When we're creating the documentation or the UI for something, we
> have the responsibility to make it as clear, complete and correct as we
> possibly can. But we cannot assume the user's responsibility to use our
> product correctly. We can't be responsible if someone is too embarrassed
> whatever to admit they're having trouble and ask for help.

> -----< End Snip >--------
> 1. I used to have a sign on my desk saying that as a communicator, I was
> per cent responsible for ensuring that my message was understood by the
> intended recipient.
> 2. Several studies (see Schriver's _Dynamics in Document Design_) tell us
> that users have a strong tendency to blame themselves, rather than the
> product interface or the documentation.
Whereas developers frequently (in my experience, not from any studies I am
aware of) blame users as well.

Developers (and technical communicators) who blame users for the
difficulties they have in using hardware and software are taking the easy
way out and abdicating their responsibility for creating better interaction

User who blame themselves often don't know that it can be done better in the
first place, having alrady yanked most of their hair out from years of the
frustration of dealing with poor design.

Chuck Martin
Technical Writer, Online Help Author, GUI & Interaction Designer
twriter "at" mindspring "dot" com

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