Control is an illusion

Subject: Control is an illusion
From: "Sue Ahrenhold" <SAhrenhold -at- IpdSolution -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 09:41:37 -0400

Mark Levinson wrote:

>>I get nervous when I'm not [in control]. If the mandate is "don't
>>worry about the formatting," at best I miss the opportunity
>>to improve the page by shortening a sentence or enlarging
>>an illustration here and there for a better fit. At worst,
>>the person doing the formatting has no idea what the text
>>is about and confuses the reader by putting the emphasis
>> on the wrong stuff.

But, six months down the road, when an earlier section of the manual is revised, this page will be completely thrown off kilter, and all your custom work on this page will be for naught.
Making it pretty may be okay for one-shot documents and short-term contractors, but if you're in it for the long haul, maintaining the same set of documentation, you need to seriously consider if this is the best investment of your time for the company you work for.
I really believe that the best use we can make of our time does not involve tweaking at the page level, but, rather, investing time designing a good standard format that works "well enough" for most of our writing, and then enhancing that definition as needed. Put some time into screenshot sizing - what works best on the platform you are delivering for, what fonts are most likely to be available there, and then let the needed improvements become apparent.

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