Re: Online Help
When I was first hired as a tech writer, the company maintained
a staff of desktop publishers, illustrators and editors. I spent
nearly all of my time researching and testing product, then banged
out quick, unformatted drafts in MS Word and sent them and the
original screencap files to the DTP group. My source material came
back to me formatted, illustrated and copy-edited, and alll I had to
do was verify that the technical content was still accurate, update
as needed and then release.
I came from a very similar background. I started out as a Help author,
but one who moved from project to project (usually in 2-week stints),
taking pre-written content and putting it online, and then hooking in
the c-s mappings.
Today almost all tech writers are tools people as well as content
people (and judging from the balance of questions on this and
other tech writing forums I read, I'd say an awful lot of us are
actually tools first and content second). In my view, the quality
of techwriter life and of most product documents have both
suffered for the change.
I agree with you, and I think vendors agree with you in spirit with
such war cries as "let writers write", but the truth is that writers
wear multiple hats these days and overall quality suffers due to lack
of focused attention.
HATT List Owner
WWP-Users List Owner
Senior Member STC, TechValley Chapter
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