Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"

Subject: Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career"
From: Keith Hood <bus -dot- write -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Sion Lane <sion -dot- lane -at- unit4 -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 2015 10:15:25 -0500

In 2001, I had a conversation with a software engineer. He told me that my
work was really necessary only with bad software. If the user interface was
intuitive enough, a help system was unnecessary. I said I had been writing
help systems and user manuals since 1991 - 10 years at that point. I had
spent 10 years hearing software people talk about their telepathic
interfaces that were so wonderful they would tell the users which buttons
to click next without being asked. I said that I thought that needing 10
years to experiment should be enough, and asked him when were he and his oh
so wonderfully smart buddies going to *finally *bring out a beta version.
He just walked away and literally did not speak to me the remaining 8
months I worked there. Which with that particular guy was the best response
I could have prayed for.

On Wed, Aug 19, 2015 at 2:51 AM, Sion Lane <sion -dot- lane -at- unit4 -dot- com> wrote:

> Like others, I have been hearing about self-documenting software and
> embedded help for over 10 years. The software I document at the moment
> would be completely incomprehensible without either intensive training or
> user assistance, despite the hundreds of thousands of dollars and man hours
> invested in its UX.
>
> The author makes some good points about adapting and being open to
> different avenues, but this shouldn't come as a surprise to any tech writer
> worth their salt. Proclaiming the death of a professional field on the
> basis of two informal social interactions is rather presumptuous.
>
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Re: "Software Technical Writing is a Dying Career": From: Sion Lane

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