RE: Documenting hardware interfaces

Subject: RE: Documenting hardware interfaces
From: "Combs, Richard" <richard -dot- combs -at- Polycom -dot- com>
To: "Boudreaux, M (GE Healthcare, consultant)" <MadelynBoudreaux -at- ge -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 23 Oct 2008 15:41:56 -0600

Boudreaux, M (GE Healthcare, consultant) wrote:

> My background is primarily centered around software. I now find myself
> needing to define pieces of hardware, mainly the UI: buttons, keys,
> toggles, switches, cables, ports, and quite a few thingamabobs and
> doohickeys that I've never dreamt of in my philosophy.
> Can anyone point me to a good resource for naming the parts of
> equipment, with a medical slant if possible (but maybe not
> I am so used to turning to style guides for the right names for
> but my guides aren't helping me now. I may get to define some of these
> things myself, but I'd prefer to do so with some guiding.

Speaking of regulated environments, "GE Healthcare" and "medical slant"
suggest that some of the issues recently brought up on the "Alternative
to floppy" thread are relevant.

I haven't done too much HW documentation, but the HW I've documented
always had _labels_ on its buttons, switches, and doohickeys. I'm
surprised that would not be the case on a medical device. I'd enter
tickets into the defect tracking system (or object in some other

Are there requirements documents? Design documents? Product
specifications, marketing documents, etc? Do you have access to the
people who designed the product? Someone somewhere must have written
something about every thingamabob and doohickey as part of the process
of creating the product.

As a reality check on what your engineers and product managers call
things, try researching similar products from competitors. You may find
documentation -- or at least marketing materials -- you can download
from their websites.


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
rgcombs AT gmailDOTcom


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Documenting hardware interfaces: From: Boudreaux, M (GE Healthcare, consultant)

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