Re: What is embedded help?

Subject: Re: What is embedded help?
From: "Peter Neilson" <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 2015 06:26:30 -0500

On Mon, 30 Nov 2015 05:04:29 -0500, Charlotte Branth Claussen <charlotteclaussen -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

What is the best way of collaborating with UX?

SPIES!

In a computer company long ago and far away we used spies. One of the TW managers set himself the task of discovering unannounced projects, particularly those that were being developed in remote locations. He could then ask pithy questions at the regular development-group meetings to which he apparently invited himself.

I think that kind of activity is now called "being proactive." We called it spying.

"The Carborundum Project? How did you find out about that? No, there's no documentation requirement for that yet. It was supposed to be secret. We'll let you know if we need anything."

This was back in the days of printed manuals. Our enemies in dev and marketing seemed to think that four to six weeks was sufficient time for the writing group to plan, staff, research, write, review, make camera-ready, check the blues and print. How long would they expect now, six days?

We never did solve the problem of the Difficult User Interface, but instead put in large amounts of effort that should have been done by a UX team. We attempted to create a user manual that eased the user through steps that should have been automated or intuitive.

Without spying you may be seen as "coming in too late."

"Why are you asking about UX for Carborundum? Our work on the Carborundum Project is finished. Carborundum is supposed to ship next week, but you've not supplied the doc package. Oh, and the product name is no longer Plzzbbt. Carborundum will ship as Sqxxmntter. Make sure to change the screen shots in the docs."

No need for my level of cynicism. Simply arrange a bit of careful spying.
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Follow-Ups:

References:
Re: What is embedded help?: From: Sion Lane
Re: What is embedded help?: From: Charlotte Branth Claussen
RE: What is embedded help?: From: Sion Lane
Re: What is embedded help?: From: Charlotte Branth Claussen

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