Re: waking up to the world of Technical Writing

Subject: Re: waking up to the world of Technical Writing
From: dmbrown -at- brown-inc -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 03 Jun 2004 08:28:27 -0700


Mark Baker wrote:

...the thing that really gets to me about this announcement...:

"You are invited to be part of this vision of technical communication as
central to every user experience."

This seems to me to miss the point entirely. Technical communication is, by
its very nature, peripheral to and even an interruption of the user
experience. This is the first thing that I used to stress to new writers:
unlike most other forms of writing, your purpose is not to grab and hold the
user's attention, it is to get them out of the book and back to their task
as quickly as possible. The less they have to read, the better. If technical
communication becomes central to the user's experience, then something has
gone terribly wrong.

I think you're assuming too narrow a definition of technical communication, even if we limit the discussion to software-related technical communication.

The fortunate tech writers are increasingly involved in development of the UI--at least in terms of command names, object labels, tool tips, and the like; sometimes even in workflow design.

That's very much central to the user experience.

You point of view is evident in the statement about getting them "out of the book and back to their task," but tech writers do more than just producing books.

--David

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Follow-Ups:

References:
waking up to the world of Technical Writing: From: T. Word Smith
Re: waking up to the world of Technical Writing: From: Mark Baker

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