Re: "Design" was Re: Tech Writing a Growing Field?

Subject: Re: "Design" was Re: Tech Writing a Growing Field?
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Apr 2007 00:30:31 -0700

I think the idea that tech writers are somehow better able
to understand and map design processes that those who
actually do the design is a reach, or possibly something
that just works in the software industry. Having been on
both sides of the design/documenting process at various
times in my working life, there is no way that a writer
was ever going to understand my process for designing
a planetary gear train, and a tech writer would most
certainly *not* have been the "test case" for my design
for a rocket igniter safe/arm device. Tech writers can
certainly have a part to play in helping people who know
something impart what they know to others, but being
able to organize and transfer knowledge about a
product is not the same as being able to develop the
product itself.

Gene Kim-Eng

----- Original Message -----
From: "Ned Bedinger" <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>

> Chris Borokowski wrote:
>> Technical writers as
>> articulators can make sense of the design process, and
>> distill it to a logical map. They can refine this map
>> in a way that people caught in the trenches of
>> marketing, development or user testing cannot.

> I think this point of yours harks to tech writer manifestos that want us
> to be integrated into the full product development cycle. I need to
> steep in a project to become an integral part of the design process. I
> do subscribe to the theory and practice of long-term project membership
> for tech writers (even when it means working in the crossfire of
> marketing, development, and testing), but I think the design analysis
> functions you mention (making sense of design process, distilling it
> into logical maps) don't fit with the documentation role.

> So, in this framework, I wonder if you are saying that tech writers
> should try to drive the requirements and design phases because we're the
> test case--if we can't find the information needed to understand the
> product and project, then something is wrong and needs to be fixed first?

> Sometimes it seems like I'm in the catbird's seat--I do have a lot of
> experience, can provide useful insights, and can ask penetrating
> questions--but as the writer I do not have all the facts, and I don't
> have the engineering background, and even if I had both I would probably
> not come up with the same solution as the other members who have the
> facts and training.

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Re: Tech Writing a Growing Field?: From: Chris Borokowski
"Design" was Re: Tech Writing a Growing Field?: From: Ned Bedinger

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