Examples of good tech writing? (take II)

Subject: Examples of good tech writing? (take II)
From: Geoff Hart <ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 12 Jan 2006 17:46:18 -0500

Julie Stickler objected to the use of the "Idiots" and "Dummies" guides: <<I find that while there is good information in these guides, that the style is too breezy and informal. I would definately not adopt that type of informal style for anything that I was writing for the corporate world.>>

Others have reported similar misgivings about these guides, but it pays to remember that different audiences require different styles. While you might find these guides trivial and possibly even insulting, they sell in the tens of thousands of copies. Clearly, that's a large audience of people who like and need what they're providing and aren't getting that in the developer's own documentation.

For stuff in areas I'm not familiar with, and for a break from the heavily techy stuff I often have to read, they make an effective choice or a good introduction before I start more complex and demanding works. (For example, there's a copy of "Chinese for Dummies" in my immediate future. <g>)

If you're in the fortunate position of documenting something like Word, for which dozens of third-party manuals exist, it's well worth your while purchasing a few of the better ones as reference material. You'll often find interesting solutions to problems you weren't able to solve yourself, innovative strategies for communicating information more effectively, and whole areas of your documentation that are missing. What better tool for improving the quality of your own documentation?

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Geoff Hart ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca
(try geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com if you don't get a reply)
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Examples of good tech writing?: From: R D
Re: Examples of good tech writing?: From: Barry Campbell
Re: Examples of good tech writing?: From: arroxaneullman
Re: Examples of good tech writing?: From: Julie Stickler

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