Re: The "Too Familiar" problem

Subject: Re: The "Too Familiar" problem
From: mpriestl -at- ca -dot- ibm -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 13 Nov 2000 11:10:39 -0500

David Downing wrote:

>I have to write some
>very general introductory material for some software I've been documenting
>at a detailed level, and I'm having trouble looking at it from the
outside.
>Anyone having any thoughts, point of view, etc., on how to handle this?
>Thanks

Corner a member of your target audience (or someone with a similar level of
knowledge) who is patient, communicates well, and is actively interested in
the subject matter. For example, a newbie on your team, or a newbie in
marketing or tech support for the product. Start by asking them what they
know or assume about the product, or can infer about it from its name.Then
start explaining, and make a note of where you go wrong, what questions
they ask, where they nod impatiently, where they get totally lost, which
metaphors work, etc. Try it with as many people as you can, until you've
got a comfortable patter down.

This works for me. Your mileage may vary.


Michael Priestley
mpriestley -at- acm -dot- org
IBM Toronto Lab


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