Re: PowerPoint Presentations for Doc/writer Impact?

Subject: Re: PowerPoint Presentations for Doc/writer Impact?
From: Dick Margulis <margulis -at- fiam -dot- net>
To: Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 15:22:58 -0500

Chuck Martin wrote:

You were not born with the knowledge to use even the simplest of products.
You learned. Many basic things that you now take for granted you still
learned long, long ago (for some of us longer than others).

[snip for length only]

The point is, everything in that list *is* documented.


Some pens have documentation. Mine don't. Some staplers come with documentation. Mine didn't. Frozen dinners do; fresh broccoli doesn't. Yes, there are examples of products in every category I listed that come with documentation; but there are also examples that don't.

Much of that
documentation is inherent in its design, design that takes into account the
existing knowledge and experience of most users.

And often that knowledge is gained through apprenticeship (or informal mentoring by a parent or friend), through reading a book or article, or through seeing someone else use the product in passing.

If I read a book on woodworking that explains in excruciating detail when to use steel wool, what grade to use, what direction to rub, with what amount of pressure and then go to Home Depot and buy a bag of the proper grade of steel wool. It _might_ have a label that lists the grades and some suggested uses, but I'm not even going to look for that much "product documentation." It's a commodity and I'm buying based on price alone, to use with the knowledge that came from reading a book--a book that has no link with the product.

There is nothing inherent in the design of steel wool--or broccoli--that takes my knowledge into account. Especially the broccoli.

But if you change the
design to the unfamiliar, and even though the function is the same, the
ability to use will be reduced.

Back to broccoli. One day the store has first-cutting heads. Next day it has second-cutting bunches. Next day it has bulk florets, no stems. The only documentation is the price per pound. I can figure out, without any help from documentation, whether the product in front of me is utile with respect to my menu plan.


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