Re: The future of tech comm: podcasting? -- YES!

Subject: Re: The future of tech comm: podcasting? -- YES!
From: "Jens Reineking" <J -dot- Reineking -at- interkomelectronic -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 15 Aug 2005 12:13:19 +0200 (CEST)

I've just started to look into radio production (taking courses, reading books, etc.), so I
thought I might take a stab at this topic. Probably a bit meandering since I will be thinking
about this as a I write along:

Users are likely to be conditioned to audio as something that runs in the background, accompanying
what they actually do. Switching to listening only and staying focused over a longer period of
time might prove too hard for a lot of people.

Radio lives by providing enough variety to keep the listender engaged: pre-written and read text,
live recorded speech from interviews, atmospheric sounds, music. All that mixed in an entertaining
manner. A radio news editor I just spoke to at Friday said, that he needs several hours a day to
just prepare the short news for the non-commercial station he is working for: Two short recordings
with pre-written text and interviews and five to six news texts to be read live.
Bottom line: Producing real high quality audio documents will most certainly prove to be much more
effort than an equivalent written document.

As it has been pointed out several times, the information density of audio is quite a bit lower
than of written material. Or rather it has to be, if there is to be any chance of getting any
meaningful information at all from the audio document: one information per sentence; enough
redundancy to compensate for the inevitable straying of minds; pauses that allow the audience to
catch up; less words per minute than in reading silently.

That said, I had a really good time with the audio documentation of the Acorn A4000 computer about
12 years ago. It provided an overview of the GUI and walked me through some standard procedures.
It sometimes gave instructions to pause the tape to do something. And it had a very likeable and
able speaker.

What audio is good at is to provide an intimate contact, to transport emotions and with this
perhaps trust. I like the little promotional videos on the net more for their speakers (which give
me the sense of really getting in touch with the product) than for their animations.
As a result, audio documents have to be authentic because most people catch any convoluted
marketing or tech speak really fast and won't tolerate this unnecessary mental processing load.

As a company, I would probly think about using audio at the entry level - gaining trust from
customers and building a relationship. And perhaps for those first steps into a new world as
described above with the A4000. But due to its characteristics, I seriously doubt it could work
for any in-depth explanation (too much work) or as a reference (too clumsy). But perhaps you could
add optional audio elements to your glossary. Or a spoken introduction on how to use the online

My 0.02 ?,



Now Shipping -- WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word! Easily create online
Help. And online anything else. Redesigned interface with a new
project-based workflow. Try it today!

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Re: The future of tech comm: podcasting? -- YES!: From: Jennifer C. Bennett

Previous by Author: Re: Technical Writer in other languages
Next by Author: RE: Job Titles
Previous by Thread: Re: The future of tech comm: podcasting? -- YES!
Next by Thread: Re: The future of tech comm: podcasting? -- YES!]]

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads