RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing

Subject: RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing
From: "Janoff, Steve" <Steve -dot- Janoff2 -at- Teradata -dot- com>
To: "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>, "Mike Starr" <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 Oct 2009 14:54:57 -0400

Mike, might be an interesting exercise for you to rework that article
and see what v2.0 looks like. If you have time, of course. :)

Appreciate the clarification. I made the same error. :/

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+steve -dot- janoff2=teradata -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+steve -dot- janoff2=teradata -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com]
On Behalf Of Leonard C. Porrello
Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2009 11:46 AM
To: Mike Starr; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing

I did miss your caveat--and of course, since audience apprehension is
beholden on the communicator, that's your fault. Perhaps if you had used
a the Minimalist paradigm, it would have been less confusing. (Just
kidding!)

As the discussion has proven, you are absolutely right, and there is a
huge disconnect between what many tech writers think of when they hear
"minimalism" and what Minimalism actually is. And as you suggest,
theories (such as Minimalism) are meant to enhance what we do.

Leonard

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+leonard -dot- porrello=soleratec -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
om] On Behalf Of Mike Starr
Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2009 11:10 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing

However, bear in mind that I opened my article with:

"One of the problems I have with what many interpret as the minimalist
imperative..."

I'm inclined to believe that many of my colleagues approach the concept
of minimalism as a artificial limitation on content that ends up
depriving users of information they need to gain a thorough
understanding of the product. Again, I can tell the users how to
decrease the color depth but it seems like many tech writers would say
not to bother giving the users the reference documentation at all...
just procedures. That's how I believe many interpret the concept of
minimalism.

Mike
--
Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Website developer
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - http://www.writestarr.com


Quoting "Leonard C. Porrello" <Leonard -dot- Porrello -at- SoleraTec -dot- com>:

> Similar to Kevin, Mike isn't arguing against Minimalism--as it is
> defined by Carroll. A Minimalist approach doesn't preclude reference
> documentation. It precludes giving step-by-step directions covering
how
> to do things that users already know how to do or can easily figure
out.
> In the example Mike provides (How to increase color depth....), #1 is
> important as it tells the user where to find the wanted functionality.
> However, a table detailing all of the options could follow #1. And if
> the original image would be irreversibly changed by the process, this
> information would also be included. On the other hand, if the original

> is not irreversibly changed, Minimalist instructions would include
> information on how to undo changes that may have been made by mistake.
> If you would omit anything, it would probably be #2. What user that
> understands color depth and the "256 Color Palette" would need to be
> told to click "OK"?
>
> Having said all that, I have to add that I haven't read Carroll's book

> ten years and might have forgotten something or transmogrified his
> theory into my own pet creation. If anyone who has actually read
> Carroll's work cares to show me the errors in my understanding of
> Minimalism, I'd be grateful.
>
> Leonard

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2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
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authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
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References:
Re: Examples of Minimalist Writing: From: Mike Starr
RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing: From: Leonard C. Porrello
RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing: From: Mike Starr
RE: Examples of Minimalist Writing: From: Leonard C. Porrello

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