re: upload/download terminology

Subject: re: upload/download terminology
From: wswallow -at- nycap -dot- rr -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 09 Jun 2004 09:15:35 -0400

OK, question:

Which is more valuable to you and your customers?

1) Documentation that uses real industry terms and properly and eloquently defines them so everyone then understands what these terms mean and can apply them to your product and outside the contect of your deliverable.

2) Documentation that skirts around the use of real industry terms in order to convey information to a captive audience who can apply their knowledge from the documentation only to the deliverable.

I vote for #1. Why?

Your audience will be better off in the long run knowing the correct terminology. Should at some point they buy an additional product to use in their jobs that uses the same terminology, they can draw associations easily and not get confused. Otherwise they could look at "upload" in one document and "FromHandheld" in another, and perhaps "korlsomfgam" in another and puzzle over whether these are indeed the same or not. In that case, your skirting around the standard terminology just confused them, which is what you were trying to avoid, right?

Also, if you are using custom terminology for standard terms, you now have "reverse education" happening, where you need to educate everyone working on YOUR team from this point forward on what these terms actually mean and refer to, and you have to make sure they are all being used consistently by everyone, thus potentially confusing YOUR team.

And furthermore, you can create a section in your very first chapter to define these terms and other concepts that will be used throughout the documentation, and then you can reuse this section in every publication you produce.

Of course you also have to consider audience members who DO know a thing or two... How will they react to seeing something they know and understand as "upload" being refered to as FromHandleld or korlsomfgam? Wouldn't you think that would be confusing for them, YOUR POWER USERS? These are the people who should be able to pick up the product and easily master it, and teach others to use it properly. You certainly do not want to confuse THEM!

K.I.S.S. ;)

Teach them the right way, which is why I suggested you properly define the standard terminology and use it. Everyone wins.

You can assume your audience is "stupid", but you don't necessarily need to nurture that assumption. That itself, IMHO, is "stupid".




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