Re: 'Old fashioned' Tech Writers

Subject: Re: 'Old fashioned' Tech Writers
From: eric -dot- dunn -at- ca -dot- transport -dot- bombardier -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 2004 10:24:06 -0400

bounce-techwr-l-106467 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com wrote on 07/09/2004 10:02:15 AM:
> According to UI principles...if an application is
> developed according
> to UI methodology, if 99.0% of the users don't use it, it isn't in
> the application in the first place. That falls into something called
> an edge case and you don't develop for edge cases.

I think the business case for what functions are developed goes a little
further than the percentage of users that will use it. I'd even hazard
that discussing percentages of users is a red herring.

What if it's a large and complex system that is used by thousands, but the
report generation is used by one or two users. If the report is critical
to the completion of tasks its implementation and documentation in the
help is critical to the application.

Most applications are chock full of functionalities that may not be used
(and hence the tasks not looked up in the help) by the majority of users.
Yet, in the cases where the funtionality IS used it may be critical to the

As far as the no complaints after pages being removed from a help
system... How many people actually complain to the company? Could they
have been found when they were included? Is the rest of the 'help' usable?

Considering the third-party documentation market, reality would tend to
prove all the "users don't read the docs" nay-sayers wrong. What it shows
is that documentation is badly managed, presented, organised, and
inefficient. A large number of users are willing to pay a premium for
correctly targeted documentation that is well written and organised.

Eric L. Dunn
Senior Technical Writer


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Re: 'Old fashioned' Tech Writers: From: John Posada

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