RE: Trends in Tech Comm

Subject: RE: Trends in Tech Comm
From: "Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)" <sjanoff -at- celgene -dot- com>
To: "techwrl (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com)" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>, Tony Chung <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>
Date: Thu, 2 Feb 2012 18:59:57 -0800

Thanks, Tony.

Yes, and the thing I think about is how Apple products tend to stack up against other devices when it comes to a pleasant user experience. Obviously these things revolutionized "devices" in general (iPod, iPhone, iPad, and the Mac). Other devices that preceded them and did the same thing were just not as enjoyable to use. There's an emotional experience involved, and I think this is a frequent theme in the UX field (there's a great video on the Philips light that gradually wakes you up to replicate sunrise and birds singing -- the experience transcends the device -- although he disses the iPhone as not doing that -- so maybe I'm contradicting myself here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lEvhxJKTQK8 ).

Well, we've seen a revolution in great devices but we haven't seen the parallel thing in their documentation. There might not be an answer here. It might not be feasible to accomplish this with documentation. And yet I'm thinking, if you can create great devices, that are not only usable but also fun, then why can't you create great documentation in that spirit? I don't know that "fun" is the right word here. Enjoyable, memorable, pleasant, helpful... maybe those are better.

Before the Apple stuff came along, nobody really believed you could make those devices as much fun as Apple did. Wasn't the iMac the first computer that came out with colors?

Anyway, this idea could be a dead end but on the other hand, I remember seeing great stuff over my career. I just haven't seen it lately.

Thanks for keeping up the conversation.

Steve

-----Original Message-----
From: Tony Chung [mailto:tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca]
Sent: Wednesday, February 01, 2012 11:42 PM
To: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
Cc: techwrl (techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com); Phil Snow Leopard
Subject: Re: Trends in Tech Comm

Steve,

Thanks for the link. I agree that occasionally you catch something
that just draws you in. Most tech writing ventures on the dry, lest it
be mistaken for that "other" type of writing, (marketing).

Although, some of the more avant garde companies could develop a house
style that is evocative, sense-based, casual, and yet still technical.
All the writers would have to agree on that standard, and it would
need meticulous editing.

When working with other writers, I had a hard time being technical and
minimalist when my coworker runneth offeth at the mouth. He used
multiple words to say the same thing, and hardly ever reused
structures. That was just laziness that had nothing to do with trying
to create great writing.

On the other hand, I had trouble reading through one of the
recommended books on single sourcing. The text lacked any meat from
the start, and I don't know if it ever improved; I lost interest mid
chapter.

So I still think there is an art to what we do, to plan around the automation.

Great discussion.

-Tony

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References:
Trends in Tech Comm: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
RE: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
Re: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Tony Chung
RE: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
Re: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Phil Snow Leopard
RE: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Steve Janoff (non-Celgene)
Re: Trends in Tech Comm: From: Tony Chung

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