RE: Off to the side of Re: Interesting use of infographics for a resume

Subject: RE: Off to the side of Re: Interesting use of infographics for a resume
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TechWr-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, davec <davec2468 -at- aim -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 2 Jul 2009 16:08:54 -0700 (PDT)

Or, as I like to put it, there is value in having the right level of ignorance.

I wouldn't say the writers who are most knowledgeable are the worst, but they do have problems writing for end users. They are very valuable if the audience is people whose knowledge level is above that of the average end user. They are exactly what you want if you're writing something used in-house by engineers, for example.

When I get a chance at a job with a company that needs someone to document new software for users, I promote myself on the idea that since my level of knowledge about the product most closely approximates what they can expect from their users, I'm conducting de facto usability testing at the same time I write the documentation - I'm a one-man focus group. So they're getting a writer, market researcher, and interface QA technician all for one pay rate.

> Indeed. I have always understood that a good technical
> writer be good
> not only at forming ideas into words and arranging them
> appropriately
> on the page (pulp or web) but in being a "quick study",
> quick to
> grasp ideas & concepts, learn the new and "grok" it.
> Then when the
> project is through, they are (almost) a SME.
> Then the writer begins the next project where he/she is the
> innocent
> user again.
> It is this saw-tooth learning curve that the writer climbs
> that makes
> them most valuable to a product development team. The worst
> writers
> are those so close to -- and familiar with -- the product
> that they
> cannot take the innocent POV of a new customer. The writer,
> asking
> "stupid" questions, is the most valuable member of the
> team, in many
> ways, representing the user, noting what the ignorant
> customer
> doesn't know and using that to form the basis of a good
> instructional
> manual.


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