When users want jargon

Subject: When users want jargon
From: Anita Legsdin <anita -dot- legsdin -at- watchmark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2002 11:43:26 -0700

What do you do when, after you've done your best to use simple language and
clear procedures, your users ask for jargon? I'm writing a manual for a
product that's designed to go to more than one customer (after it's
finished). The one we have a contract with right now is testing the
software and the manual. They have comments like, "you don't include
procedures for provisioning!" or, "Please add procedures for degrowth."
This company has developed so much specialized jargon that it's nearly
impossible to understand what it is they want. In many cases, the
procedures they're looking for are in the documentation, but under
"removing equipment" instead of "degrowth", or "configuration" rather than

How far should one go to satisfy the jargon needs of a customer? If we put
it in, the documentation won't be understandable by other clients.
Possibilities: a conversion table that says "For information on X, see Y."
or, add their unusual words to the index.


Anita Legsdin
(425) 564-8135

"Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and
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-- John Steinbeck

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