RE: Consequences of inadequate docs/training

Subject: RE: Consequences of inadequate docs/training
From: Kat Nagel <mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 29 Mar 2002 12:26:26 -0500

At 8:28 AM -0500 3/29/02, Jim Shaeffer wrote:

You do not clean your gun while in the middle of a firefight. Why would
you ever change the battery in the middle of battle?
Obviously, the battery had to be replaced in the middle of a battle,
but how do we writers avoid such blind spots in documentation?
These blind spots occur in every kind of documentation, not just
the military.

One of my standard ploys, usually implemented over pizza on gotta-get-the-beta-out-by-Friday overtime pushes, is to start a "stupid luser" discussion with the developers. "Say guys, the new interface is really neat. Now, how is the user going to screw things up?" After a couple of beers, the discussion can be truly enlightening (as well as hysterically funny). Among all the absurd scenarios, there are always one or two situations that really could happen. I polish those up for my next meeting with the project manager. "Y'know, Tony's comment last night got me thinking. How can we prevent XXX if the user tries to YZ? We can put a Caution in the manual, but wouldn't it be better to [insert absurd workaround]?"

My suggestion doesn't always work---sometimes it isn't intended to---but it's always good for a laugh while the project manager or lead developer starts thinking about the problem.

Kat Nagel
Owner, MasterWork Consulting Services
Phone: (585) 820-4045 Fax: (585) 244-3565
Business: katnagel -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com
Personal: katnagel -at- bluefrognet -dot- net
Mailing lists: mlists -at- masterworkconsulting -dot- com

PC Magazine gives RoboHelp Office 2002 five stars - a perfect score!
"The ultimate developer's tool for designing help systems. A product
no professional help designer should be without." Check out RoboHelp at

Check out the TECHWR-L Site redesign!

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

RE: Consequences of inadequate docs/training: From: Jim Shaeffer

Previous by Author: Stand-up (was Re: Job Requirements (was Ethical Companies))
Next by Author: Legal requirement for documentation in user's language?
Previous by Thread: RE: Consequences of inadequate docs/training
Next by Thread: Health Coverage for Contractors

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads