RE: Don Norman on Manual Writing

Subject: RE: Don Norman on Manual Writing
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Bill Swallow" <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>, "Tony Markos" <ajmarkos -at- yahoo -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 27 Dec 2005 09:51:01 -0800

Oh, I can see it. Some consulting firms do that to a certain extent; our
company does it as well. In practical terms, a company does an analysis
to cement down the contract. Then *maybe* it does design to get the d--n
thing to work. It may also need to document the design *afterwards* to
allow the customer to take over maintenance.

Most companies that sell a software or hardware product off the shelf
combine design and analysis, though.

The point remains: tech writers should be involved wherever they can be.
I think it's for a very simple reason. At the end of everything, the
writers have to explain the product to the users. If the writers don't
understand something, the users probably won't either. Writers are
perfect test subjects, and experienced writers can be user advocates.

My experience is that software developers are not anti-user, but they
may be wrapped up in very small details. Having another person on board
with somewhat of an orthogonal view of things helps everyone. The writer
does have to know something about the technology. All the good,
conscientious writers I know have learned their technical area well,
even if they didn't have a technical background.


Joe Malin
Technical Writer
(408)625-1623
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
www.tuvox.com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not
necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Bill Swallow
Sent: Tuesday, December 27, 2005 9:35 AM
To: Tony Markos
Cc: TECHWR-L
Subject: Re: Don Norman on Manual Writing

When would analysis and design be separate?

Every company I've worked or consulted for had both efforts within a
project team. Spreading them out to separate groups proved to be costly
as the analysis work didn't have direct insight into design and vice
versa. The results of separate efforts were missed details and
detatched/disassociated/otherwise less than ideal results.

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