Re: Absence of FrameMaker from your skill set -- what does it say?

Subject: Re: Absence of FrameMaker from your skill set -- what does it say?
From: Kathleen MacDowell <kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com>
To: Ava Cassidy <ava -dot- m -dot- cassidy -at- gmail -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 2009 19:19:56 -0500

Ava, I'd look at the type of documents people have worked on, no matter what
types of tools they've used. These days Word isn't at quite the level Frame
is for doing structured content, but it does quite a bit. Point being that
people should be able to pick up a tool with relative ease if they're
familiar with the requirements of the task.

I also think that you'll find that many of the tools people use today
interface with Word; less so Frame, although that's changing. Small shops
also tend to use Frame less, in my experience, because they want other staff
members, such as engineers, to be able to work with the content. It's often
less expensive to go with the basic tool set, and until things changed as
much as recently, the output could be comparable to more expensive,
specialized tool sets.

The quality of a writer's work doesn't depend on his or her knowledge of a
particular tool, but experience in an area (e.g., creating Help, indexing,
creating tables of contents, conditionalizing, deciding whether to break
topics up, and experience with a different shop and perhaps suggestions they
can offer.

So what I'd look at is how in-depth their understanding is of your topics
(if necessary), their skill at analysis and explanation and the other
requirements of your position.

My .02


On Thu, Jul 30, 2009 at 7:06 PM, Ava Cassidy <ava -dot- m -dot- cassidy -at- gmail -dot- com>wrote:

> First, some background: Our company is in the midst of trying to create a
> consistent tools strategy. Right now we have only a handful of writers, all
> using different tools (I'm one of the writers and I use Frame, two others
> use Word, and a fourth uses RoboHelp almost exclusively.) We do not have a
> doc manager. All of the writers report to different engineering managers,
> and there is no one in charge of a doc strategy.
> There's a strong sentiment among some of our managers in favor
> of standardizing on Frame. However, when we posted a job listing recently,
> there were some different opinions over what it should say, and whether
> FrameMaker should be listed as a requirement or as a plus. In the end, it
> was not mentioned in the posting at all.
> So, um, clearly many things are wrong with this picture, but my specific
> question has to do with what's a reasonable skill set to expect from a
> seasoned tech writer. I've been asked to help sort through the resumes, and
> none that I've seen so far list FrameMaker as a skill (nor anything as
> "fancy" as structured authoring). My question is: Does the lack of
> FrameMaker on your resume suggest a lack of seriousness about the
> profession? Or am I just being a total FrameMaker snob to even ask that?
> If you're someone who doesn't like or doesn't want to use Frame, I
> apologize
> if this is an offensive question! It's just that, at every company I've
> worked at (three jobs, over a total of 10 years), we've used Frame as our
> primary authoring tool, and the notion of possibly getting pushed into
> using
> Word sends chills up my spine. And I'm just surprised to see so many
> resumes
> that don't have it (even though our own job posting didn't ask for it).
> thanks,
> Ava
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Kathleen MacDowell
kathleen -at- writefortheuser -dot- com
kathleen -dot- eamd -at- gmail -dot- com

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:

Absence of FrameMaker from your skill set -- what does it say?: From: Ava Cassidy

Previous by Author: Re: Red Button - O MY! (end of that story - for now) - and NEW question
Next by Author: Job hunting? How about creating a flu video for HH&S contest?
Previous by Thread: Absence of FrameMaker from your skill set -- what does it say?
Next by Thread: RE: Absence of FrameMaker from your skill set -- what does it say?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads