Re: Warm and Fuzzy Documentation

Subject: Re: Warm and Fuzzy Documentation
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Jun 2001 05:29:02 -0700

The other responses I'm seeing to your query are all on target. Probably
the most limiting factor is that you're delivering Word documents, which
rely entirely on the set of fonts that the end-user has on their machine.
PDF allows you more control, but if you have to deliver Word docs, you're

Font choice? Gosh, I don't know - I guess Comic Sans MS has a "casual"
tone, but I'd sure hate to read more than a paragraph of it!

Two suggestions:

1) Ask them for an example of warm fuzzy documentation. (Do not do this in
a defensive tone, as much as you might be inclined to. Instead, say some
crap about how you "want to be on the same page with their thinking...")

2) Add some warm fuzzy elements to the structure/layout of the document,
rather than to its actual fonts. For example, add a slightly cutesie
heading to the beginning of each section like "How Does This
Thing-a-ma-jig Work?" This may require some gritted teeth on your part,
but it may soften up the tone considerably. Little boxes with notes
contained in cute borders are another option, and you also may try adding
some cute icons to indicate things like "note," "warning," "important,"
etc. (I'm not a huge fan of this stuff, but hey, ya gotta please the

For examples of this sort of thing, look at any "For Dummies" book.
Although often the body text in such books tends towards overt cuteness,
some are actually very good examples of technical writing, couched within
a seemingly casual and chatty framework.

You don't want to do a re-write, but maybe a day or two spent changing
and/or adding some headings or other touches might appease your current
critics. Good luck, and be patient!

- Keith Cronin


"I can write better than anybody who can write faster, and I can write
faster than anybody who can write better."

- A.J. Liebling (1904-1963)


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