Re: Source for statistics on the technical writing field

Subject: Re: Source for statistics on the technical writing field
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Aug 2009 14:22:27 -0700 (PDT)


I have to agree with Gene on this one. It has been my experience that doctors and lawyers are particularly resistant to learning how to use computers. They want their office staff to be computer-literate but they generally feel they have to save their available memory and brain power for thinking about the things they consider *really* important. In part it's a status thing and in part it's a belief-in-workload thing. As my father put it, at his age he doesn't have the time or the inclination to go back to school for the convenience of a !$# -at- !Q@# machine. What those people need is not a good manual that they won't read because they resent the idea that they have to study something not related to their work; they need applications that have simpler UIs, or with built-in guide features.

I think there would be a market for a completely different type of help system, one that does not require the user to open a help system in a different window. A lot of times, when people want directions on how to do something, they do not want to navigate away from where they were working. I've noticed a lot of times, people who are not comfortable with computers don't like using the help because they are hesitant about switching to a help window; they're worried they won't be able to get back to the right places where they were trying to work earlier. I can envision help code that doesn't open a CHM file or a Web page, but simply sticks pointers on the screen with arrows labeled "First click here" and then "In this field, enter your age" and then "Now click here." I think that would be more helpful to people who are reluctant to learn computer usage because it's closer to having someone lean over and point and say "click here," which is what they
really want when they try to get help.


--- On Mon, 8/3/09, Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com> wrote:

> From: Gene Kim-Eng <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
> Subject: Re: Source for statistics on the technical writing field
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Date: Monday, August 3, 2009, 5:05 PM
> And most all of these people are the
> way they are by choice, at least in
> the US, Canada and Western Europe.  The people who are
> resistant to
> changing to software and don't even know how to use a mouse
> in the
> situations you describe have not been denied access to
> computers; they
> have for the most part avoided them by choice, and will
> continue to do
> so unless they are provided with tools that are instantly
> intuitive or
> hold their hands from beginning to end (touchscreens
> instead of mice,
> talking interfaces, etc.).  "Good end-user
> documentation" for most of
> those that succeed will be embedded in the tools.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng
>
>



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