RE: non-tech techwr better for end users (was "same boat")

Subject: RE: non-tech techwr better for end users (was "same boat")
From: "Tracy Boyington" <tracy_boyington -at- okcareertech -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2001 09:52:46 -0600

>>> <jgarison -at- ide -dot- com> 01/03/01 09:39AM >>>

<< When I read Tracy's entire posting, I was slightly bemused. If she were documenting a heart monitor or the like for her nursing students, then the type of information that her students would probably want to know is exactly the kind of information she castigated the auto writer for including. >>

Well, John, that shows either how sloppily you read my post, how poorly I made my point, or how little you know about what nurses do. :-) My students do not need to know everything there is to know about a heart monitor. They need to know more than patients, but less than physicians. Giving them the information that physicians need does them absolutely *no* good -- they cannot use it, and it makes it that much harder to find (or remember) what they really do need to know.

<< Information needs vary all over the place. We cannot always predict what some people will want and what other people will not want. We sure as hell can't predict what one person wants at the exact moment they open a manual. >>

Perhaps *you* can't. Sometimes we can. I know, for example, that there are certain things a nurse is not *legally* able to do to a patient. So not only is it unnecessary to provide in-depth information about these topics, it would be completely irresponsible for me to do so. I seriously doubt I'm the only person on this list in the same situation.

<< What we can do, however, is to ingest the entire body of knowledge available on a subject, apply our own internal filtering mechanism, and present the remaining information in a logical and easily navigatable structure so that the reader can find what they want when they want it. >>

And that's what I was saying... not that *we* shouldn't know, but that it is not in our users' best interest to include *all* of our knowledge on the subject.

<< To do this requires us - the writers - to have the ability to learn new information, relate it to other information we know, relate it to what we can reliably expect our readers to know, organize it, communicate it clearly, and hope for the best. That is, until someone develops a psi-powered interface that reads the user's mind (if they have one!) >>

Agreed.


====================================================
Tracy Boyington tracy_boyington -at- okcareertech -dot- org
Oklahoma Department of Career & Technology Education
Stillwater, OK http://www.okvotech.org/cimc
====================================================


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