Re: Article: The Secret Of Impressive Writing? Keep It PlainAndSimple

Subject: Re: Article: The Secret Of Impressive Writing? Keep It PlainAndSimple
From: "Damien Braniff" <Damien -dot- Braniff -at- asg -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Apr 2006 08:30:34 +0100

Steve Brown asked <is form and style irrelevant to the substance> and,
to me at least, the answer is a resounding NO.

As part of my MA several years ago I did a survey that looked at what
people wanted from a manual, what they liked/didn't like etc. One thing
I asked about was the 'look and feel' - was it important and why. As I
remember I offered 4 options:
1 Well presented, good content
2 Well presented, poor content
3 Badly presented, good content
4 Badly presented, poor content

The results showed that:
If the manual looked 'professional' it was more likely to be read. If
they took trouble with the manual they probably did the same with the
product. If they found what they wanted then they tended to continue to
reference it as needed. If the content was poor then out it went!

The reverse was also true - couldn't be bothered with the manual so what
does that say about the product? It was often seldom/never referred to -
may never even have found out (3) that the info they needed was there.

I don't have the figures to hand but they were high - 60% plus as I

For a 'good' manual this implied that, at least initially, the look and
feel was MORE important than the content as it encouraged people to
actually look at the manual. After that, you needed the content to keep
them coming back.

Damien Braniff
Sr. Technical Writer
damienb -at- asg -dot- com

Waterfront Plaza
8, Lagan Bank Road
Belfast, N. Ireland BT1 3LR
Tel: +44 (0) 28.9072.3124
Fax: +44 (0) 28.9072.3324



WebWorks ePublisher Pro for Word features support for every major Help
format plus PDF, HTML and more. Flexible, precise, and efficient content
delivery. Try it today!.

Doc-To-Help includes a one-click RoboHelp project converter. It's that easy. Watch the demo at

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- infoinfocus -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to lisa -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Re: Recipies as technical writing?
Next by Author: Friday Fun: What Pet Peeve makes you puke?
Previous by Thread: RE: Article: The Secret Of Impressive Writing? Keep It PlainAndSimple
Next by Thread: Re: Article: The Secret Of Impressive Writing? Beyond Plain and Simple

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

Sponsored Ads