TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Before web search, docs were a megaphone that allowed a one-way
conversation between tech writers and product users.
Since the onset of search, product users no longer exclusively rely on the
official docs. Now they listen to whatever the search engine deems to be
the most reliable answer to their question. Sometimes, this comes from the
official docs. More often than not, it comes from forums, blogs, YouTube,
As techwriters, we're at a crossroads. We can either ignore the fact that
that's happening, or we can embrace it and realize that docs are now a
multi-way conversation, of which tech writers only have a single voice.
Our job is still to make the most of that voice, but it's also to
facilitate the rest of the conversations and make them more accessible to
On Thu, Jan 12, 2012 at 10:23 AM, Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca> wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 10, 2012 at 10:16 PM, Roger Goodman <reg4roger -at- gmail -dot- com>
> wrote:> My boss wants a kickass help - not the boring user guides or
> HTML help or
> > Web help.
> As others have already said: "What does your boss mean by 'kickass'?"
> Does this refer to the language style and tone or the technology?
> As far as technology goes, embedded assistance is key.
> For instance, when users fill out forms, an icon that triggers a help
> tool tip when clicked or hovered is useful. More, a "show me" link
> inside the tooltip that shadowboxes a video is cooler. Better, when
> users fill out form values, the server automatically validates their
> entry. This saves them from having to wait until they fill in all 30
> fields before they find out they did something wrong.
> Another instance, in web page documentation sets, it's always cool to
> be able to collapse menus and lists. Or drag and drop. Yeah. Drag and
> Ideally, a good application should NOT NEED HELP. We need to think
> like the user, who is not us, and anticipate questions to answer in an
> interactive manner. That is how I would define "kickass help".
> Regarding language, someone told me that their company instated a
> policy where they could not write "DO NOT" on their signs. Even if
> they were writing about rules, they were to use the positive
> So, instead of "DO NOT LEAVE YOUR CHILD UNATTENDED", someone suggested:
> "ONLY MORONS ABANDON THEIR CHILDREN".
> This met the style rule, but maybe not the tone rule. If "kickass"
> refers to style and tone, then your boss should supply examples of the
> style and tone that should be followed for the language.
> So there you go my thoughts.
> Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with
> Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
> Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days.
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as jenjobart -at- gmail -dot- com -dot-
> To unsubscribe send a blank email to
> techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> or visit
> To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
>http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources and
> Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online
> magazine at http://techwhirl.com
> Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public
> email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives
Create and publish documentation through multiple channels with Doc-To-Help.
Choose your authoring formats and get any output you may need. Try
Doc-To-Help, now with MS SharePoint integration, free for 30-days. http://www.doctohelp.com
You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-