Re: Document layout: Whose decision?

Subject: Re: Document layout: Whose decision?
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <susanwg -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Feb 2001 16:12:14 -0800

At 12:49 PM 2/14/01 -0800, Sunshine QT wrote:

I am curious:

To what extent is it your decision as the tech
writer/tech writing department how to lay out manuals,
and to what extent is it the programmers' decision?

...

My feeling is that, I don't tell them how to program;
they don't tell me how to lay out documents. But I am
willing to listen to *your* feedback. (Since you are
fellow tech writers.)
I have, on occasion, uttered those very words. Although,
truth be told, I also had words with that programmer
about his examples, but I digress. ;-)

My suggestion -- one that I've used successfully and
have suggested before -- is to accumulate hard research
that supports your position. For this particular issue,
you'll find plenty -- readability studies, popular
cognitive science articles, ... . Photocopy STC Journal
articles, print Web articles, ... . Accumulate a good-
sized stack of paper. Hand it to the programmer and say,

"This is the research on which we've based
these decisions. I'll be more than happy
to continue our discussion once you've
caught up."

Be sure to walk away or otherwise divert your attention
before he has a chance to close his mouth! ;-)

Attitude, hon. It's all in the attitude. ;-)

-Sue Gallagher
susanwg -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com


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