Re: Concepts (was Technical Writing Tests)

Subject: Re: Concepts (was Technical Writing Tests)
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 16:20:44 +0100

Furthermore, I firmly believe users want (and need) to know WHY they are doing
things. When you accurately document the "why" and "what", the "how becomes
almost incidental. If you understand why things work they way they do, then how
to make them do that is relatively straight forward.

I think it is of little value to make generalizations about users or writers (or indeed about many other things).

Many users in many situations benefit from conceptual knowledge because it makes it much easier to understand concrete steps they have to perform.

But this is not always true. For example, I doubt that a burger flipper needs much in the way of underlying concepts for his or her work - the procedural steps of how to assemble the ingredients into a meal (using the term loosely :-) is all they need.

So, once again, it comes down to knowing your audience and giving them what they need. Frequently, that will mean at least some conceptual framework, but not always.

Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:


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Concepts (was Technical Writing Tests): From: Andrew Plato

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