RE: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)

Subject: RE: [TCP] certification (was: ranting STC)
From: Kevin McLauchlan <kmclauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: 'Dan Goldstein' <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>, techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2007 08:42:12 -0500

Dan Goldstein replied to Chris Borokowski:

> > > Who was your high school teacher for Usability and
> > > Meeting Deadlines?
> > Were you ever assigned papers to write? Were they
> > intended to be read by others?

> If your definition of Usability Studies is a teacher telling you to
> write a paper that others can read, then we might have a nomenclature
> issue here.

Two things jump out at me, as I read Dan promoting his agenda.

1) Meeting deadlines. Hello?
Are you saying that you need a named-and-numbered college-level
course on the topic before you can understand it and do it?
Maybe it's a generational thing. I had a relatively old-fashioned
early education, which included things like getting the
homework and the term-papers in on time, and with all the
required elements in place. Guess what? That's pretty much
what "meeting deadlines" has turned out to be in my worklife.
You find out what you're to do, or you say what you're going
to do, or (more usually) you negotiate what you'll be doing
given the known constraints, then:
a) you do it, or
b) you renegotiate when circumstances change, while keeping
all interested parties informed.

2) Usability is NOT just usability studies, and by the way, how
many of us on this list actually GET to perform real usability
studies (and are we therefore not real techwriters, and if we
DID get trained how to run usability studies in techwriter
school, do we stand adamant and refuse to work if we aren't
given a mandate to perform usability studies)?
I know that I've gotten a budget to run a study exactly
ONE time in my entire career (not this century), and that was
just about a year before that company closed its doors.

Usability, as we techwriters know it, is a _range_, not
an absolute. To my way of thinking, if you got some
instruction in highschool on how to make documents
readable and usable (focused, concise, orderly...), then
you very much did get usability training. If that happened
at some other part of your life's progress, well so be
it. If, as with (I'll wager) most of us, you got repeated
exposure to the notion and to techniques at different times
and in different ways, then hallelujah, and welcome to the


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