RE: Narrative Technical Writing

Subject: RE: Narrative Technical Writing
From: "Janoff, Steve" <Steve -dot- Janoff2 -at- Teradata -dot- com>
To: "Robert Lauriston" <robert -at- lauriston -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 3 Nov 2009 14:42:28 -0500

Yes, but I think you know what I mean.

Plus, to the extent a particular feature is difficult to use, that
feature won't be used, and the UI will have to be improved. There's a
point at which documentation cannot overcome poor usability. But true,
excellent documentation can compensate for poor usability.

But think of the many years we've all gone without using the more
advanced features of simple ("") tools like Word, Outlook, Excel, etc.
How many times have you thought, "Yeah, I've got to get into the manual
and learn that really cool feature one of these days." I guess that
won't deter Microsoft from continuing to build advanced features into
these products, even in subsequent releases. There are always one or
two people in the world who use them.

Or think of your mobile phone. Every time I get a new phone, I think,
"Yeah, I'm going to sit down and really read that user's guide and see
what all the features are." And I never get around to it. And then
it's time to get another phone. With lots of spankin' new features.

I think I've said this before, but I remember the days when TV sets had
2 knobs: One for on/off/volume, and one for selecting channel (from
among maybe a dozen numbers at most). I mean, did you really need more
than that?


-----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 Robert Lauriston
Sent: Tuesday, November 03, 2009 10:39 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Narrative Technical Writing

How many users can figure out how to configure Facebook "Friend Lists"
and privacy settings so as to share different information with friends,
family, and professional contacts without consulting some extra-Facebook
documentation? How many can figure it out even then?

I just documented a purchasing application based on a subset of Oracle
Financials. I did write a one-page cheat sheet for end users, but it
took more like 25 pages to cover all the tasks four groups of users with
different privileges regularly have to perform.

On Tue, Nov 3, 2009 at 10:14 AM, Janoff, Steve
<Steve -dot- Janoff2 -at- teradata -dot- com> wrote:
> ... Web applications are becoming so easy to use, the eventual "help"
> might be a 1-page cheat sheet. ...

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

Re: Narrative Technical Writing: From: Chris Despopoulos
RE: Narrative Technical Writing: From: Janoff, Steve
Re: Narrative Technical Writing: From: Robert Lauriston

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