Re: Rhetoric And Technical Writing?

Subject: Re: Rhetoric And Technical Writing?
From: "David Loveless" <daveloveless -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "Janice Gelb" <janice -dot- gelb -at- sun -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 2006 15:19:59 -0700

That is definitely true, and I agree with that. I don't believe that
technical writing needs to be full of prose and lengthy paragraphs.
What I have done is removed all that prose and laid out everything in
a simple design that is open and inviting and explains principles
quickly and effectively using standards from the publishing industry.

As for the reading, the reviewers continued reading because they were
learning things about the product that they never knew or had never
seen explained that way, not because it was an "enjoyable" read. It
was interesting and they were learning, so they kept reading.

Again, I think we have two opposing views of rhetoric. Rhetoric in my
little world (welcome, may I take your coat?) isn't fluffy prose or
persuasion, and it isn't necessarily even writing. It is effective
*communication in all its forms* built for the situation and audience.
All my headings use the "standard" gerund and many other standards of
technical writing, but my experience in magazine design has taught me
that there are better ways for certain audiences of quickly explaining
information and capturing readers. And that isn't to say that tables,
screenshots, and diagrams are out, but rather that there are more
effective styles of tables, screenshots, and diagrams that are, in my
opinion, better. There are better ways of creating bulleted lists than
indents and using the standard bullet. There are better ways of laying
out the page that are more interesting.

And that's not to say that this is necessarily a new idea or
revolution. Look around. The publishing world has been using these
techniques effectively for years. As already pointed out, the "For
Dummies" series has effectively used many of these skills to their and
their audience's advantage.

But again, a time and place for everything. For *my* audience, this
style and design is working extremely well. I believe that those
skills from the publishing world (particularly magazines) would
greatly benefit a lot of our design styles.


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RE: Rhetoric And Technical Writing?: From: mlist
Re: Rhetoric And Technical Writing?: From: David Loveless
Re: Rhetoric And Technical Writing?: From: Janice Gelb

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