Writing as inspiring users

Subject: Writing as inspiring users
From: Chris Borokowski <athloi -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 12:33:25 -0700 (PDT)

I needed a dumb Friday topic, and for my sins, I found one.

I think of good documentation as being able to inspire users. I see users in bookstores or with new products often pick up the manual, and scan (not read) it before even unpacking the product.

I think if the writing shows them how the device is used, they feel confident enough to tackle it. When you think about it, most technologies have a basic mechanism, and if you understand that, you can conjecture somewhat accurately about their more peripheral functions.

It's inspiring to users to find writing that matches cleanly to that mechanism. Form follows function, and documentation follows that. I hope to inspire more users before I expire.

technical writing | consulting | development

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