RE: % of Users Who Read Software Documentation

Subject: RE: % of Users Who Read Software Documentation
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 7 Feb 2002 16:18:18 -0000

Jane writes:

>> Make it enjoyable to read...Make them *want* to read the manual.
I would love to do this, but for a couple of problems:

>- Translation..... Part of making something fun to read is using the
language to evoke images >and emotions from your readers. But my editor (and
most tech editors) doesn't like idioms or
>cute phrases.

I agree. One of my tests when I need to be certain that a passage in a
manual (such as a warning note) is clearly written, is to pass it through
Babel Fish, English to another language and back again.

>Do you have any examples of tech writing that is interesting AND
informative AND passed the
>inspection of a tech editor?

If you'd gone to the asktog link I provided
<http://www.asktog.com/columns/017ManualWriting.html>, you'd have found
several. Here's one:

"It's extremely important to answer this question accurately, so, if there's
any doubt in your mind, repeat the test and double check ? it doesn't take
much extra time and it ensures that the results of your test will be
accurate.

against:

"If, when Conflict Catcher asks you whether or not the problem is still
around, you deliberately lie, then you deserve what you get. But, if you
answered the question incorrectly by accident, keep in mind you can "rewind"
the conflict test without having to start over."

Incidentally, there appears to be no particular advantage in translation, as
far as the Babel Test is concerned:

"It is extremely important to answer this question exactly, if there is some
doubt in its mind, relaunches therefore, the test and the double check. it
does not take much additional hour and one makes sure that the results of
their test are exact."

against:

"If, when Conflict Catcher asks to him if or the problem still is not
around, you lie deliberately, then you deserve what you obtain. But, if you
answered the question by accident incorrectly, he remembers that you can "
rewind " the test of the conflict without having to begin above."

You'll also find a whole bunch of responses to the article.
http://www.asktog.com/columns/017ManualWriting.html#Response





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References:
RE: % of Users Who Read Software Documentation: From: Matthew Horn

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