RE: 'Old fashioned' Tech Writers

Subject: RE: 'Old fashioned' Tech Writers
From: "Beth Agnew" <Beth -dot- Agnew -at- senecac -dot- on -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 2004 11:10:21 -0700

Leo Hill said:
So perhaps while the software TW's are in flux, those
of us that write manuals for machinery and actual
physical products are still plugging away making sure
that all the i's are crossed and the t's dotted along
with all the features documented.

Yes, I think you're right. The software companies are adjusting to the fact
that after 20 years of personal computers on people's desks, we don't have
to explain things such as "drag and drop". As techwriters, we can assume a
greater degree of computer knowledge on the part of the user. Therefore,
many familiar features, or ones that are clear to users in their own
industry, do not require documentation.

Of course, that doesn't mean that _tasks_ still don't need to be documented.
So any documentation that is task-oriented rather than feature-oriented
shouldn't change much. If you describe all the tasks and don't cover all the
features of an application, sounds like those features are redundant anyway.

Beth Agnew
Professor, Technical Communication
Seneca College of Applied Arts & Technology
Toronto, ON 416-491-5050 x3133


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'Old fashioned' Tech Writers: From: Leo Hill

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