RE: Do manuals have to be boring?

Subject: RE: Do manuals have to be boring?
From: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>
To: "Porrello, Leonard" <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>, "Craig Haiss" <craighaiss -at- yahoo -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 27 Aug 2010 14:21:22 -0700

Oops. Make that tenets, not tenants.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Porrello, Leonard
Sent: Friday, August 27, 2010 8:20 AM
To: Craig Haiss; techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: RE: Do manuals have to be boring?

Of course cook books are technical manuals. Doesn't everyone learn as
much in Tech Writing 101? As for engaging and educating, these are two
core tenants of John Carroll's Minimalism (circa 1990). As for
entertaining, there's a "For Dummies" manual for just about every topic
under the sun; and apart from "For Dummies" manuals, the overwhelming
consensus among the experienced technical writers is that trying to
entertain is generally a bad practice. Personally, I want the writing to
be transparent when I am trying to use a manual to solve a problem. In
other words, it shouldn't draw attention to itself or draw my attention
away from task I am trying to accomplish.

On the other hand, I understand that the piece was a blog entry and can
be best understood and appreciated as such: "The concept of 'blogging'
... is said to have originated in the Amazonian rainforest, where
European explorers observed the native hunter-gatherers communicating by
means of high-pitched whining and long-drawn-out musical glossolalia.
Although no actual information was ever conveyed by this meaningless
prancing, the locals appeared to enjoy the sight and sound of each
other's attempts and dancing along with them" (Uncyclopedia).


-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lporrello=illumina -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Craig Haiss
Sent: Thursday, August 26, 2010 7:15 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Do manuals have to be boring?

I found the following article inspiring, and it would be great with a
Friday morning cup of coffee.

"How a mouth-watering user guide got me thinking about technical
communication"

http://www.dmncommunications.com/weblog/?p=2069

It made me long for the kind of computer manuals I read as a kid, when
computing was just a hobby and the authors of manuals were perfectly
willing to goof off in print.

Enjoy!

-Craig Haiss




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References:
Do manuals have to be boring?: From: Craig Haiss
RE: Do manuals have to be boring?: From: Porrello, Leonard

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