Re: Blurring the line between writer and engineer

Subject: Re: Blurring the line between writer and engineer
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2015 00:55:22 -0600

I have found flaws and "forced" hardware changes in the course of writing the documentation. One project I worked on would have required a user to reach into a control cabinet within an inch of live high voltage terminals in order to change a fuse. The engineer resisted mounting fuse holders to the exterior of the cabinet, arguing about the additional cost. He came around when I asked him about the additional cost of the lawsuit for the death of a user and whether his personal insurance would cover that sort of thing.

I have also written test procedures for the user to validate a subsystem (the company had a policy that every function had to be testable by the user). There was a deadline for shipping the system and the documentation and none of the engineers had the bandwidth to write the test so I wrote it myself.

I have always taken a role in improving user interface design, often creating an issue in the project management tool (Jira, etc.). I have also done complete overhauls of poorly designed user interfaces because the programmers would respond to my criticisms with something like "If you think you're so smart, let's see you redesign it." Didn't write the code but presented detailed wireframes to illustrate the changes.

Best Regards,

Mike Starr, Writer
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -
President - Working Writers of Wisconsin

On 12/14/2015 5:41 PM, Rick Lippincott wrote:

Two questions, just out of curiosity:

* For hardware tech writers (especially large "heavy metal" writers),
do you find that you're doing this...frequently? Rarely? Ever?
* For software tech you ever find that you're writing code?
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Blurring the line between writer and engineer: From: Rick Lippincott

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