Re: Doc Design and Convention ( was TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 48, Issue 27)

Subject: Re: Doc Design and Convention ( was TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 48, Issue 27)
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 09:01:08 -0800 (PST)

Janice, I did not say that the way you asked questions about what the user needed to know was driven by marketing concerns. I said it sounded to me like it was a little closer to the way marketing people think about the customers. That is because the questions you ask yourself about the customer/user seem to me to be broader in scope than the questions I ask about them, so that answering your questions may include consideration of factors outside the purely technical. AND, I want to make sure that you understand my words about your questions and your thinking were not an indictment of any kind. They were simply a statement that I thought your questions seemed to have a slightly different focus.

And of course I agree that in order to provide good documentation, we have to consider what the customers need to know. I just think that in such deliberations, I probably tend to focus more on the purely technical aspects of the situation.


--- On Wed, 11/4/09, Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM> wrote:

> From: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
> Subject: Re: Doc Design and Convention ( was TECHWR-L Digest, Vol 48, Issue 27)
> To: "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
> Date: Wednesday, November 4, 2009, 7:12 AM
> Keith Hood wrote:
> > It's like this: you're saying what information do they
> need about the thing? I'm more saying, what do they need to
> do with the thing? I think it's a matter of me thinking more
> in terms of giving directives. I formed the impression you
> think about telling the user this is what you can do, and I
> tend to think of telling the user this is what you should
> do.
> >
> > My remark about marketing meant, it seemed to me your
> thinking about the users was more closely related than mine
> to the way in which a marketing person would think about the
> users. Your second question was, "For what purposes are they
> buying and using the product?" That's broader in scope than
> the kind of questions I ask, and seemed to indicate thinking
> about how the users see the item fitting into their
> business. That way of considering user concerns about the
> item isn't related strictly to the technical aspects of the
> item. When I think about why users may want the item, I tend
> to consider it more as a matter of tool use.
> >
>
> Sorry, I guess I wasn't clear. Actually, I don't
> think I'd pick either what they "can" or "should"
> do here. I'm more on the side of saying "The user
> bought this for a reason. They want to do something
> with the product." When I say that, I don't mean
> how the product fits in their business. I mean, they
> actually are going to sit down and use the product.
> What are they going to be doing when they use it?
> What instructions and information should we be giving
> them so when they do whatever it is they're going to
> do with the product, they'll be successful and we'll
> provide answers to the questions they have while
> using it?
>
> I don't think those are Marketing questions; I think
> they're questions that we need to be able to answer
> when writing the docs so we provide accurate, useful,
> and usable documentation.
>
> -- Janice
>
>
> ***********************************************************
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Are you looking for one documentation tool that does it all? Author,
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