Re: INDUSTRY COMPETITIONS

Subject: Re: INDUSTRY COMPETITIONS
From: Andrew Plato <gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 1 Apr 2003 11:01:04 -0800 (PST)


"John Posada" wrote...
>
> However, since Check Point Software Technologies is in the internet security
> biz (I even checked out your web site), of what value is it to the company
> (and documentation department) to claim documentation awards?

I can speak uniquely to that. I wrote security documentation that won awards.

The largest problem with most technical writing contests, particularly the STC
ones, is that they are based almost exclusively on layout and look and feel.
There is no analysis (or minimal) analysis of the content. This makes any win
in those contests almost meaningless.

I would reccommend that Anna use reviews of their products as a yardstick for
documentation quality. Normally, if documentation is mentioned at all in a
review, it is either praised (rare) or slammed. If a technical auditing team
praises the documentation, that means it did an excellent job of explaining the
technology. That is the best contest you can win. Its an honest, real-world
evaluation of the docs by folks that are really using the products.

My suggestion is similar to John's...get some trade magazines like Information
Security or eWeek to review your products. Specifically ask them to review the
documentation, if possible. Then pay close attention to the areas of the
products they mention as confusing or poorly designed. This is an area you
might want to improve in the docs.

Andrew Plato

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