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Subject:Re: New to Industry From:"Phillip St. James" <saint0 -at- verizon -dot- net> To:"TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com> Date:Wed, 29 Dec 2004 11:38:57 -0800
Congratulations on your new job and best wishes, Karen. As for the choice
of layouts and the "look and feel" of your documents, here are some things
The attractiveness of printed or online pages is subjective. Your company
has a style (or a number of styles) that is reflected in its existing
documentation, white papers, marketing literature, ads, logos, and so on.
You may want to remain pretty much the same or you may want to "ramp up" a
bit to show a better "face" to the world, one that is perhaps more
MS Word is not the most flexible text layout application, but it isn't all
that bad either. My advice is to gather as many examples of documents you
find pleasing to the eye and try to replicate them in Word. MS Publisher is
a great source for sample Word templates that you can easily fiddle with to
What you are also dealing with, perhaps without being aware of it, is the
need for a style guide that specifies how your documents are put together in
terms of text, graphics, frontmatter, backmatter, types of documents,
authoring applications, and other issues.
In a one-person tech pubs department, codifying style guide information may
not be possible while meeting aggressive deadlines. But I think that you
should spend some time determining how you and your colleagues want the
documentation to appear and how effective/usable you want it to be. (Tech
support customer and vendor inquiries/complaints regarding documentation
shortfalls are a cheap and practical way to measure the usability and
effectiveness of the existing documentation.)
Is there a budget for a temporary journeyman graphic designer to make up
some templates for your various online and printed documents? Professional
help in that area will make a great deal of difference...
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