Re: Silly but important to me - another twist

Subject: Re: Silly but important to me - another twist
From: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2004 14:16:30 -0400

Martinek, Carla wrote:
> -----Original Message-----
> Subject: Re: Silly but important to me - another twist
> TecWriter1 -at- aol -dot- com wrote:
> >
> > To expand on this, where do most of you think
> supporting/descriptive
> > text for a procedure should go? In our equipment instructions,
> > there is usually no "result" to report. It's "remove the
> thingy"
> > or "insert the thingamajig into the whatchamacallit."
> >
> > The supporting text might be something such as
> > "The thingy is located in the upper right corner of the control
> > panel."
> Don't I need to know where the thingy is before you tell me how to
> remove it?
> Bonnie Granat
> If this is a technical manual, you should be able to write with the
> assumption that the user has some familiarity with the subject. Tell
> them what to do, and if they know what to do, they can skip the
> supporting text and go straight to the next step. The actual
> procedure to be performed stands clear and alone.

If you are going to tell a reader where something is, it's not real
helpful to put it after you tell them what to do with it. You lose the
reader when you start talking about something that they haven't a clue
about. Why force them to read through an instruction that is meaningless
to them first? Tell them where the thing is first.

> If they don't know where the part is, then the supporting text
> provides the information they need.

Why should a reader have to plow through a meaningless instruction in
the hope that *maybe* the writer might tell them where the thing is

It's a matter of writing for
> your audience, and also of stylistic choices.

Consideration of your audience means telling them where things are
located BEFORE you tell them what to do with them.

Bonnie Granat
Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA
Mobile: 617-319-7461
Office: 617-354-7084


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RE: Silly but important to me - another twist: From: Martinek, Carla

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