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It's been some time since I was really able to do a formal audience
analysis either. I think I did try once at one job and the effort was
met with a rousing lack of support, so I tend to do as you do. Luckily
for most projects I do have direct access to my users, and have often
provided some support as well. It's a nice benefit of working on
internal business systems.
On my current project, I'm writing for my developers so I have my
audience right here. I'm very curious about how they are handling
writing for the end-users on this project. It's hugely complex and
they've got call center folks in the States and overseas. I also have a
sense that the poor writer(s) (I hope for their sake there's more than
one!) won't have much time to get things done.
I have been leaning toward the idea of personas--I believe that's Jared
Spool's concept. I've only read bits and pieces and need to do more
research into it. I have a small side project coming up to document some
open source software, and I think personas will fit very well for that
project. I'll also be tracking back through the threads on open source.
From: bounce-techwr-l-53104 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-53104 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com] On Behalf Of
MList -at- chrysalis-its -dot- com
Sent: Thursday, April 17, 2003 7:30 AM
Subject: RE: Reader responsibility
For me, that has mostly consisted of wetting my finger
(which one?...... it varies) and holding it up to the
breeze from the ventilator.
My audience consists almost exclusively of people I've
never met and never will meet, twice removed. Many of
them live and work on another continent, or on the other
side of the world. Our product is mostly handled by
intermediaries/partners. The budget for sending the one-and-only
technical writer to Hong Kong for a few days of observing
co-operative third-party customers installing, configuring
and integrating our products... is nil. Even if there was
such a budget, I think that SARS would mitigate against
What I don't figure out for myself, in terms of what the
average user will need, to do the job, I get from our
Customer Support and Sales Eng. people..... for the next
What *should* formal audience analysis look like? It's
been so long since I've seen a focus group or press-ganged
some "users", that I can't really remember (that would be
at Philips in Montreal in the late 1980s).
Darn, I'm old! Candidate for accreditation grandfathering? :-)
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