Re: Writing to your audience

Subject: Re: Writing to your audience
From: Chantel Brathwaite <brathwaitec -at- castupgrade -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 02 Mar 2011 17:50:53 -0500

Another thing to consider is that often there is an "informal audience." Aside from the end user, there is the informal audience of people inside of the company who review your documentation. Some either trust your expertise or are in tune with what the users need, but sometimes there are others who are not. If they are the ones that must approve the recommendation, it can be touch and go because sometimes they want to put things in the documentation that most end users probably don't care about, like the nitty-gritty details of exactly how a specific algorithm works in a user manual. Often these internal customers know the software well and want to be accurate, but don't realize that this might confuse the user or worse, make them want to stop reading the manual completely. Then, there are some who blanche at the thought of putting things in that feel intuitive to them. If you have freedom over what is in the document or if you have the backup of management and the respect of your team, it is easy to overcome this. But if not, even if you voice your objections, you can end up producing documentation that people inside the company like, but the end user hates.

The compromise of course is to have different docs for different audiences - so the internal user can be assured that the information will show up in some piece of documentation (even if it is not the one that they are reviewing at the moment) while the end user can have document that addresses topics that will help them to complete their tasks.

--

Chantel Brathwaite
Technical Writer
Cole Engineering Services Inc.
Web: http://www.coleengineering.com
Email: Chantel -dot- Brathwaite -at- coleengineering -dot- com
Phone: 407-207-1773 ext. 4138

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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Writing to your audience: From: Dan Goldstein
Re: Writing to your audience: From: Phil
RE: Writing to your audience: From: Porrello, Leonard
RE: Writing to your audience: From: Matt Sean Gras
RE: Writing to your audience: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
RE: Writing to your audience: From: Dan Goldstein
RE: Writing to your audience: From: McLauchlan, Kevin

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