Re: Friday files: an exercise in information design

Subject: Re: Friday files: an exercise in information design
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 09:05:10 -0500

Reminds me of the time I needed to document DIP-switch settings on a printed circuit board. However, at some time, they must have changed the switch vendor and the numbering of the individual switches on the part went from 8 to 1 while the numbering on the silkscreen on the printed circuit board went from 1 to 8. I had to insert a photograph into the manual indicating which numbering scheme the technician should refer to.

On another occasion, one of our engineers located the fuses in the control cabinet for a device right next to live 240VAC terminals. I pitched a serious hissy-fit over that one. There was no way I was going to document a procedure to change a fuse that would have a technician reach into a cabinet to change a fuse and possibly touch a terminal that had live lethal voltage.
Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -

Geoff Hart wrote:
> Just received this old joke (presumably from Reader's Digest based on
> the style): <<A parts manager for a small electronics shop, had
> occasion to order part No. 669 from the factory. But when he received
> it he noticed that someone had sent part No. 699 instead. Furious at
> the factory's incompetence, he promptly sent the part back along with
> a letter giving them a piece of his mind. Less than a week later, he
> received the same part back with a letter containing just four words:
> Hmmm... after chuckling, the information designer in me noted that the
> problem could be solved just by appending "Part no." before the
> number. Made me wonder how many other problems we cause for our
> audiences could be solved equally simply.
> ------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Geoff Hart (
> ghart -at- videotron -dot- ca / geoffhart -at- mac -dot- com

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Friday files: an exercise in information design: From: Geoff Hart

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