Re: Your opinion about help authoring tools

Subject: Re: Your opinion about help authoring tools
From: Gregory P Sweet <gps03 -at- health -dot- state -dot- ny -dot- us>
To: Gretchen Hollis <gretchen -dot- hollis -at- att -dot- net>
Date: Wed, 3 Dec 2008 11:39:29 -0500

> 1. What type of technical writing job do/did you have (i.e., your
> title, company, and your technical writing responsibilities) and
> where are you located (i.e., state)?

I am a Health Media Training Specialist and Certified Synchronous Learning
Expert with the New York State Department of Health. I am responsible for
user documentation, instructional design, training delivery, usability and
QA of custom web-based information exchange applications on the
Department's secure Health Commerce Network. I also provide e-mail,
telephone and synchronous technical support for the network's 75,000 users.
I am in Albany NY.

> 2. Did you take courses that taught you how to use help authoring
> tools (i.e., RoboHelp, Doc-To-Help, AuthorIT) or desktop publishing
> tools (i.e., Framemaker, Illustrator, InDesign, Quark). If no, skip to
No for authoring tools, yes for DTP -- actually PageMaker.

> 3. If so, did you take the course(s) through a university or somewhere
I took a full semester on DTP with PageMaker. While the class used
PageMaker the focus was more on what constituted good page layout and

> 4. Did you take the course before or during your technical writing job?
As part of my Journalism degree program -- so well before I ever even
considered technical writing as a profession.

> 5. Do you think on-the-job learning is sufficient for learning help
> authoring tools for your work?
Yes. In fact that's the job isn't it? To be the first on-the-job learner
with the product you are documenting?

> 6. Do you think technical writing programs at universities should
> teach students how to use help authoring tools?
Specific tools? No. The concepts of what makes one help better than
another, definitely. If I were looking to hire, I would be far more
interested in seeing samples of work. The tools would be a follow-up
question if I saw something nice, something I hadn't seen before or
something I didn't know how it was done. Really, the tool would be
secondary to seeing the prospect knew good design from bad.


techwr-l-bounces+gps03=health -dot- state -dot- ny -dot- us -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com wrote on
12/02/2008 02:54:54 PM:

> Hello all,
> I'm a technical writing graduate student, and I'm interested in
> other technical writers' experiences with help authoring tools . I
> would appreciate your responses to the following questions.






> Thanks,
> Gretchen
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

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Your opinion about help authoring tools: From: Gretchen Hollis

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