Business issues, documentation and editors

Subject: Business issues, documentation and editors
From: Jean Weber <jean -at- wrevenge -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 10 Jan 2002 20:03:24 +1000

Charles E Vermette commented, in a thread about Client woes:

In what I do (business end user software documentation) this is answering
the question, "What is this technology and why would someone use it."
They're using it to solve a business problem. In order to highlight the
features/mechanics of the program, you need to understand the business
problem or practice that the user is dealing with.

One of my biggest complaints about a lot of software documentation is that it tells me *how* to do something but doesn't give me a clue *why* I might want to, or what it's for. The assumption seems to be that the reader wants to do X but doesn't know how. I think that's often an incorrect assumption; sometimes it never occurs to me that X was a possibility -- I didn't know enough to even ask the question.

I am reminded of this problem because the people who edit the books I write frequently point out to me that I am guilty of doing the same thing -- making an invalid assumption about what my audience knows. As soon as they point it out, I realise they are correct and I add a few sentences to put the procedure into perspective. In the past I've usually been the editor spotting the missing information; it's quite an eye-opener to be on the other side <grin>.

Regards, Jean
Jean Hollis Weber
mailto:jean -at- jeanweber -dot- com
The Technical Editors' Eyrie

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Re: Client woes: a question to ask yourself...: From: Charles E Vermette

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