Re: Technical Writing Tests

Subject: Re: Technical Writing Tests
From: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- editors-writers -dot- info>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 06:51:46 -0500

----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Plato" <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>

> I agree. Conceptual information is harder to write and is ultimately more
> valuable.

Perhaps, if you don't know your subject and are struggling to explain a topic
that you don't fully understand. In that event, you shouldn't be making the
attempt. Conceptual information may be more valuable under certain limited
circumstances, but most users want to know how to *do* something.

If you can explain why something works the way it does, how to make
> it do that should seem almost obvious.

That assumes the software is well-designed and intuitive, and that users have
the luxury of spending five minutes reading about concepts. A good procedure
introduces the steps in a process with just enough conceptual information to
prepare the user to perform the task.

> However, most technical writers are procedure writers. That's all they can
> and its all they ever strive to be. As such, they make up tests that look
> people who can write procedures.

Maybe that's because most users of documentation want to know how to use the
software, not how or why it does what it does.

> The result is always the same: their docs simultaneously suck and blow.

You should hear what they say about yours!

Bonnie Granat
Comprehensive Editing and Writing Services


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Re: Technical Writing Tests: From: Andrew Plato

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