RE: User documentation - drawings or photographs?

Subject: RE: User documentation - drawings or photographs?
From: "Al Geist" <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 22 Jan 2008 16:50:10 -0500

Kevin McLauchlan wrote:

"I'm writing from the perspective of a lone writer who has normally
finished his docs and moved on to another project by the time the true
production units are becoming available."

I was a lone writer for most of my career and most of the projects I worked
on were based on pre-production units. In the "old days," I rushed home with
freshly shot film to my darkroom and worked late into the night. Now, I plug
my Canon 40D into my laptop and download. It's a lot less hectic and I get
to see my family more.

"I find that a photo is great for the outside of a box, but once you get
the cover off and start messing in the innards, the reflections and
inopportune shadows and the lack of contrast in exactly the places where
you want it most... all point to a simple line drawing as the way to
portray/emphasize what you want portrayed and emphasized."

When I'm inside the guts of a system, I do not use a flash, so shadows
haven't been much of a problem. You just have to learn how to use existing
light and minimize those jitters. Don't, I repeat, don't drink a lot of
coffee before trying to shoot something at less than 30th of a second.

"I think your company and mine produce product in a different order. We
do the design, have prototypes made, refine them, and finally get
pre-product... preferably around the time we're testing the software
that goes with. We don't make product and then catch up later with
engineering drawings, such as a skunk-works shop might do."

Not sure what you mean by skunk-works. We do everything, from product
development through system manufacture, installation and service.

"Staff. He's got staff. I'm my staff. We have a "Creative Services" group
in another country, and it takes so long to schedule work with them that
it's often simpler and quicker to just do it myself."

In 1978, I was in charge of a Technical Writing Group. In 2007, I was asked
to be a Technical Publications Manager (under contract). There were many
years in between where I was the lone writer responsible for all aspects of
documentation, including photography and contract negotiations with
publishers. Sometimes, being a lone writer is a lot more fun and certainly
less stressful. BTW...our corporate headquarters is in Germany. You are
right in saying "different worlds."

Al Geist
Technical Writing, Help, Marketing Collateral, Web Design and Award Winning
Voice/Msg: 802-872-9190
Cell: 802-578-3964
E-mail: al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
URL: (Online portfolio and resume)
See also:
URL: (Fine art photographic prints for home or
office and beautiful note cards for all occasions.)

" ... I walked to work, quit my job, and kept walking. Better to be a
pilgrim without a destination, I figured, than to cross the wrong threshold
every day." (Anon)


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User documentation - drawings or photographs?: From: SB
RE: User documentation - drawings or photographs?: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: User documentation - drawings or photographs?: From: Al Geist
RE: User documentation - drawings or photographs?: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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