Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables

Subject: Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables
From: Julie Stickler <jstickler -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Technical Writing <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 23 Jun 2016 11:58:45 -0400

I don't disagree. But since the vast majority of the technical writing
opportunities in my area at the moment are at startups, plunking down the
money for an enterprise CRM is not an option. Using engineering resources
for documentation is a tough sell. We're making due with free and low-cost
options for everything. At the moment I don't even have a proper authoring
tool, but I'll be writing up a proposal to purchase one as soon as I figure
out what our critical needs are. I suspect that anything costing more than
a couple thousand dollars will not be approved, no matter what kind of
argument I make about how it's how we "should" be doing things.

So while I'm not disagreeing with you about the potential direction that
our profession is moving, without some idea how to move in that direction
without large amounts of money and engineering resources this vision isn't
actually contributing much to the conversation. OR answering the OP's
question about how to present information that we're used to presenting in
tables in a more responsive design. And my point still stands, a large
number of technical writers work at small to medium sized companies that
just do not have the resources to generate the "ideal" documentation that
you seem to be talking about. We have to do the best we can with the
resources that are available to us.

Telling us that we're old fashioned and irrelevant and that we're doing it
wrong is not helpful. What would be helpful, is to point us towards any
open source or low-cost resources that would help us to enact your vision
of the future of documentation. Or point us towards blogs, articles,
courses, or conferences where we can learn the skills that you seem to
think we're lacking. Or examples of the kind of documentation you're
talking about?

On Thu, Jun 23, 2016 at 10:36 AM, <mbaker -at- analecta -dot- com> wrote:

> > Could we steer the conversation away from travel schedules and back
> towards something that technical writers might be trying to document on a
> mobile help system vs information that programmers would be displaying in
> the user interface?
> Well I don't think we should, because the technology has blurred those
> lines. If we continue to think of technical communication in terms of a
> split along the lines of writers = static and programmers = dynamic, we are
> going to be obsolete very quickly.
> Today's media are dynamic. They have behavior. Yes, that behavior has to
> be programmed. But the behavior of the media is still part of how it
> communicates. It is part of the communication design. If we don't learn to
> think of communication in terms of designing the behavior of media, we are
> going to become irrelevant.
> In particular, we can't continue to act as if the presentation of raw data
> for the reader to manipulate is acceptable anymore. We have to start
> thinking in terms of how to manipulate the data for the reader and present
> them with results. That is simply the standard today. It is a fundamental
> component of ease of use a product.
> True, not everyone has the skills or the tools to do this in the short
> term. But that does not change the fact that the old dichotomy simply
> doesn't work. We have to start by asking what the correct information
> design is, and that will often have a dynamic component. If we don't have
> the tools or the skills to produce that design right now, okay. Do the best
> approximation you can, but then start getting the tools and the skills
> because the world has changed and that is what it is going to take to do
> the job in the future.
> Mark

Julie Stickler
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HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: Chris Despopoulos
RE: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: mbaker
RE: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: Weissman, Jessica
Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: Michael Hopwood
RE: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: mbaker
Re: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: Julie Stickler
RE: HTML5, Phones, and Tables: From: mbaker

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