RE: When you really need to create a screen (WAS: Cursors! Foiled again.)

Subject: RE: When you really need to create a screen (WAS: Cursors! Foiled again.)
From: "Giordano, Connie" <Connie -dot- Giordano -at- FMR -dot- COM>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2001 17:14:37 -0500


Thanks for the tip, but PSP really does the trick for my purposes, since I
can cut, paste and layer elements as needed. In addition, we're doing
intranet applications, and the standard elements in such packages are
usually Windows-based, which don't apply.

However, this, and other posts of the day do lead back around to one of my
pet concerns: Why do so many tech writers limit themselves to
after-the-design content issues? Those that only do screen captures and
write procedures according to a style guide. Those that say "I'm a writer
dammit", and have no use for design issues, production issues or editing
issues, those that think a User Interface is a concept limited to software
applications, or that think the size of your manual determines its quality.
Or that you can't be a SME cause you're a writer dammit.

You're missing out on great opportunities to integrate various corporate
functions (including the dreaded M word), build a respected career path, and
really do a service for your customers and/or users. ..... Design the
products for the way users use them, and documentation becomes one among
several tactics for providing built-in and external user support including
CBT, platform training, tooltips, on-line help, demos and a host of other

Call it information architecture, content development, product design,
business analysis or something to be named later. Many of the tasks and
required skills overlap. But TW's are among the best-suited to integrated
product design because of their general understanding of communications,
users, tasks, products and technology. Good tech writers are even better at
it, because they also relate testing and QA, development knowledge, analysis
skills and project planning to what has to be done to make a usable product.

If we did better product design up front, then we wouldn't need to complain
about crappy user manuals. We wouldn't need them at all. So instead of
working ourselves out of a writing job, we should be looking for
opportunities to expand our communications and design skills so that the
product IS the message we communicate.

OK, I feel better now. You can all go back to work.

Connie Giordano

-----Original Message-----
From: Scott Turner [mailto:sturner -at- airmail -dot- net]
Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2001 4:57 PM
Subject: Re: Cursors! Foiled again.

If you really need to create a screen look into ConceptDraw
( It is really very nice for the price. While
it is very Visio like, it has libraries (OS interfaces) that allow you
to create your own screens (windows, dialogs, buttons, etc).



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