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> Nongeek users want to know how to perform a task using the software.
> don't want some self-absorbed airhead "educating' them. Give them what
> want -- that's what "know thy audience" means -- and don't give them
> you think they should want.
Nongeeks and geeks all want the same thing - information. The more
pleasantly you ram information into their heads, the happier they are.
If your documentation is merely instructions...then you're not giving them
complete information. You're just bossing them around. Giving them just
enough information to do the task, but not to understand why the task is
done. There is no insight in instructing people. Anybody can do that.
To communicate REAL knowledge to people you have to educate them. Show
them why things are done. What the reasoning is behind technologies,
designs, and tasks. Feed them a steady diet of "why are you doing this and
why is it useful."
As for being educated by self-absorbed air-heads...
Educating readers means taking an active role in the process of
communicating concepts, ideas, *and* instructions.
Instructing means you can follow a bouncing ball and spit back the steps
Now, which is more airheaded?
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