State of the industry (was Re: Appalling English)

Subject: State of the industry (was Re: Appalling English)
From: "Jane Bergen" <jane -dot- bergen -at- usa -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 09:36:37 -0600

I've found this lack of concern about quality to be pervasive in the
software industry, and the trend is less concern rather than more. In many
cases, it is not only lack of concern but lack of understanding as well.
Most of the people in charge of (the ones who make budget decisions) the
writers are not technical communication professionals themselves, so have
no idea what quality looks like, much less how to get there.

Ironically, though, I do think that some documentation is slightly better
than it used to be, but it's not because the software companies are
committing to produce it....instead, it's because standards are beginning
to fall in place and because technical writers are getting better at their
profession. Writers are more experienced, more caring, and better trained
than ever before.

Most companies still treat documentation (especially printed documents)
like an ugly step-child. It's just something they have to "put up with" to
make the marriage work, so they're going to throw minimal effort and
resources at it to make it happen. I like to hear about the exceptions,
but they really are just EXCEPTIONS.

Jane Bergen

----- Original Message -----
From: <Robert -dot- Partridge -at- MONDEX -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Monday, November 13, 2000 4:55 AM
Subject: RE: Appalling English

> You're so right. At the company I worked for, they were most concerned
> probably rightly so) about getting products out on the market for the
> price they could. There wasn't a great value add for them in producing
> quality instruction books. Their main priority was increasing the sales


> All of which made my position as a technical writer very tenuous. If
> could get away with not including a manual, they would.
> Rob

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