Re: Caring about good writing...

Subject: Re: Caring about good writing...
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 31 Dec 2003 12:42:46 -0800

Chuck Martin wrote:

Users most emphatically do *not* "want" to know how to install, configure,
maintain, etc. software or other products. That we continue to require these
things of users simply perpetuates the belief that products, especially
computers and software, are difficult to use. That some continue to insist
that this is what users "want" allows poor design to be perpetuated.

This may be a matter of audience and philosophy. If you're writing for developers or for an open source audience, they most emphatically do want to know how to install and configure. I'm not a developer, but I am a user of open source software, and I can assure you that you would annoy me mightily if you did not give me the information to handle things hands-on. I might not have time to use the information, and might never get around to using it, but I still appreciate having the option.

Similarly, although I am aware that a little information about these subjects can be an invasion of your readers' right to know, I believe that, just because these subjects are often described poorly is no reason to keep users ignorant. Naturally, I try to structure things so that those who don't want to be bothered can ignore them. Equally, though, I try to provide for those who do want the information. Moreover, if you organize the information properly, some of those who imagine that they couldn't tackle installation or configuration will be pleasantly surprised; some of the praise I've most highly valued from readers is a variant of, "Gee, I thought this was complicated, but it's really simple."

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"It wants a kiss like whisky
A breath of spring
It want a taste of freedom
It wants everything."
- OysterBand, "My Mouth"



RoboHelp for FrameMaker is a NEW online publishing tool for FrameMaker that
lets you easily single-source content to online Help, intranet, and Web. The interface is designed for FrameMaker users, so there is little or no
learning curve and no macro language required! Call 800-718-4407 for competitive pricing or download a trial at:

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Caring about good writing...: From: Lucero, Peggy A. NMIMC Contractor

Previous by Author: Re: Really caring about communication
Next by Author: RE: Editing follies
Previous by Thread: Re: Caring about good writing...
Next by Thread: Re: Caring about good writing...

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads