Re: Survey Question

Subject: Re: Survey Question
From: "Dana Worley" <dana -at- campbellsci -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 09:19:48 -0600

On Wednesday, July 26, 2006, Diana Ost wrote:

> How many of you have been asked to document a software application,
> but were not expected to need access to that software?

Not once.

If someone did ask this of me, after I picked myself up off the floor
from laughing so hard, I would tell them I will start writing the
documentation when I have a version of the product in my hands I
can play with.

No, it's not impossible to do, but I think you end up with much better
documentation if the person writing about it is actually *using* it (I
write datalogger hardware and software documentation, so I can do
this. I know in some instances it would be impossible, such as when
writing instructions for arming/disarming a warhead :)

When I'm using the product and writing about it, there's an added
bonus to the development team because I am also *testing* it. And
because I am using it, there may be things I include in the
documentation that are helpful to the user, which I would never had
been able to pull from the design specs alone.

When you are documenting without the product in front of you, there
is also the problem with the application changing out from under
you. It seems to me there would be more work involved with going
back and checking that the documentation jives with the real
application, than getting it right the first time.

2 cents,

Dana W.

Dana Worley
Manager, Software Support Group
Campbell Scientific, Inc.
Microsoft MVP, Windows Help 2003-2006


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.


Survey Question: From: Diana Ost

Previous by Author: Re: Bank Holidays
Next by Author: Re: Career change to tech writing
Previous by Thread: Re: Survey Question
Next by Thread: Re: Survey Question

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

Sponsored Ads