RE: Book: What makes a great user manual?

Subject: RE: Book: What makes a great user manual?
From: "Wright, Lynne" <Lynne -dot- Wright -at- Kronos -dot- com>
To: "salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com" <salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Jan 2017 17:22:52 +0000

Wulp, maybe ask your client if they know what it means to "actuate" a lever.

Then ask them if "Lift the unlock lever" leaves any room for confusion.

Then say: that's the difference between just putting some words together, and writing useable instructions.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lynne -dot- wright=kronos -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf Of Chris Morton
Sent: January-16-17 12:04 PM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?

Here is an example of what I'm up against:

For the purpose of these procedures, it is assumed that the patient remains in place during all these procedures, although the patient can be removed at any point in this process when it is safe to do so.

And:

The gizmo needs to be rotated into storage position for proper storage. To release the gizmo, actuate the unlock lever by lifting the lever up. Rotate the gizmo 180 degrees until it locks into position.

WARNING: The gizmo needs to be rotated into storage position for proper storage and transportation.

*In order to drive a car, you must insert the key into the ignition, Insert the key into the ignition so as to be able to drive the car. Once you have done so, you can then drive carâbut only after you have inserted the key into the ignition. Now go ahead and insert the key into the ignition so you can drive the car.*

And yet my client doesn't want to make (what it considers) "grammar"
changes. Judging from a late Friday email exchange, it's become evident that client has never even read their own freakin' manual. It certainly reads like it was outsourced, or at least written by an ESL engineer who perhaps volunteered for the assignment.

(And I mean no offense to those who are either an engineer or ESL, so please don't take any.)

Chris Morton



â Substantive Editing â Technical Writing â Proofreading
â Marketing Expertise â Mentoring Click to <http://t.sidekickopen68.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nMJN7t5XYgdnqQxW7fsH3H4XrddKW1pNgV-56dMhqf2Q-c6C02?t=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fpub%2Fchris-morton%2F2%2F166%2F6ba&si=6020636811198464&pi=54655008-db55-4a2c-dd97-5050dfd8d13a>


On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 11:37 AM, Slager Timothy J < Timothy -dot- Slager -at- dematic -dot- com> wrote:

> If "they obviously work for many" that makes (some of) them pretty
> good. I suppose the question is whether there is a standard that bumps
> the "work for many" into the "works for most" category. ("Works for
> all" is one of those typically unachievable goals worth striving for.)
>
> I liked the advice in the Forbes article to contact the manufacturer
> and complain. But complaints too can lead to poor design--unless there
> are enough of them to confirm that something is actually insufficient,
> wrong, or confusing. So often one person's good is another person's
> bad. Making a change based on a few complaints may cause that typical
> problem, in software terms, of adding a bug while removing another. On
> the other hand, failing to include how to add string to a trimmer
> seems like a gross oversight.
>
> I'm interested too in knowing what are the essentials of a good
> manual. I suspect it is a compromise at best. If it includes what some
> really like, it should do so in a way that isn't too off-putting to
> those who dislike that sort of thing. If it has to include lots of
> warnings, it should make it easy to find the other information. If it
> has too many pictures, they should be good ones. If it has too many words, they should be clear.
>
> I'm afraid that if I finally figured out exactly what makes a good
> manual, by the next year the recipe would no longer apply. So the
> quest continues--as it should.
>
> tims
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+timothy -dot- slager=dematic -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+timothy -dot- slager=dematic -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> ]
> On Behalf Of Chris Morton
> Sent: Monday, January 16, 2017 11:06 AM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?
>
> Thanks, Tim, but my question isn't about *Dummies* books. They
> obviously work for many and that's great. I was turned off by a volume
> on TCP/IP I bought years ago.
>
> I do a fair amount of writing. Outside of the technical realm, much of
> what I write includes humor here and there, as witnessed on this and
> other forums in which I participate. So I enjoy a good bit of humor.
> But while growing up, I never found The Three Stooges, Green Acres or
> Gomer Pyle to be funny enough to keep me engaged. For me, that level
> of thunk-over-the-head humor doesn't cut it.
>
> So... back to the original question....
>
> Chris Morton
>
>
>
> â Substantive Editing â Technical Writing â Proofreading
> â Marketing Expertise â Mentoring Click to <
> http://t.sidekickopen68.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nM
> JN7t5XYgdnqQxW7fsH3H4XrddKW1pNgV-56dMhqf2Q-c6C02?t=https%3A%
> 2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fpub%2Fchris-morton%2F2%2F166%
> 2F6ba&si=6020636811198464&pi=fa4629a9-bd82-48f9-f5b3-6b9bd993b242>
>
>
> On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 10:48 AM, Slager Timothy J <
> Timothy -dot- Slager -at- dematic -dot- com> wrote:
>
> > I've used a few Dummies books. One I thought was amazingly well
> > done, and another was pretty bad. Both of these were on programming,
> > which I knew next to nothing about.
> >
> > tims
> >
> > -----Original Message-----
> > From: techwr-l-bounces+timothy -dot- slager=dematic -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+timothy -dot- slager=dematic -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- c
> > om
> > ]
> > On Behalf Of Chris Morton
> > Sent: Monday, January 16, 2017 10:40 AM
> > To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > Subject: Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?
> >
> > I can't stand *Dummies* books, Craig. Usually the humor is at the
> > Adam Sandler/Mr. Bean level. Not my cuppa.
> >
> > Chris Morton
> >
> >
> >
> > â Substantive Editing â Technical Writing â Proofreading
> > â Marketing Expertise â Mentoring Click to <
> > http://t.sidekickopen68.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nM
> > JN7t5XYgdnqQxW7fsH3H4XrddKW1pNgV-56dMhqf2Q-c6C02?t=https%3A%
> > 2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fpub%2Fchris-morton%2F2%2F166%
> > 2F6ba&si=6020636811198464&pi=96a12667-7627-44fb-9750-a7bfe0e453e7>
> >
> >
> > On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 10:38 AM, Cardimon, Craig
> > <ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com>
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I always liked the Dummies books as launching pads. Great just to
> > > get you started.
> > >
> > > Anyone else use Dummies as starting points?
> > >
> > > ~Craig
> > >
> > > -----Original Message-----
> > > From: techwr-l-bounces+ccardimon=m-s-g -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com [mailto:
> > > techwr-l-bounces+ccardimon=m-s-g -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
> > > techwr-l-bounces+Of
> > > Chris Morton
> > > Sent: Monday, January 16, 2017 10:35 AM
> > > To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > > Subject: Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?
> > >
> > > Specifically I'm interested in a somewhat breezy book (but not
> > > like
> > > *Dummies*) that clearly explains the problems the problems that
> > > can ensue with a manual that is poorly written/laid out.
> > >
> > > Chris Morton
> > >
> > >
> > >
> > > â Substantive Editing â Technical Writing â Proofreading
> > > â Marketing Expertise â Mentoring Click to <
> > > http://t.sidekickopen68.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B9nM
> > > JN7t5XYgdnqQxW7fsH3H4XrddKW1pNgV-56dMhqf2Q-c6C02?t=https%3A%
> > > 2F%2Fwww.linkedin.com%2Fpub%2Fchris-morton%2F2%2F166%
> > > 2F6ba&si=6020636811198464&pi=7db9504b-239d-4442-cc97-f40fe7da56e4>
> > >
> > >
> > > On Mon, Jan 16, 2017 at 10:13 AM, Chris Morton
> > > <salt -dot- morton -at- gmail -dot- com>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > Considering the following (as well as usability works by Steve
> > > > Krug), I'm wondering if there is a similar volume that takes a
> > > > good look at user manuals. Your recommendations welcome,
> > > > although each should be easy read in keeping with what Redish
> > > > and Krug are conveying. (I have a low tolerance for high-brow
> > > > studies written by
> > > > PhDs.)
> > > >
> > > > *Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works* by
> > > > Ginny Redish
> > > >
> > > > "Web site design and development continues to become more
> > sophisticated.
> > > > An important part of this maturity originates with well-laid-out
> > > > and well-written content. Ginny Redish is a world-renowned
> > > > expert on information design and how to produce clear writing in
> > > > plain language for the web. All of the invaluable information
> > > > that she shared in the first edition is included with numerous new examples.
> > > > New information on content strategy for web sites, search engine
> > > > optimization (SEO), and social media make this once again the
> > > > only book you need to own to optimize your writing for the web."
> > > >
> > > > Thanks
> > > >
> > > > Chris Morton
> > > >
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > â Substantive Editing â Technical Writing â Proofreading
> > > > â Marketing Expertise â Mentoring Click to
> > > >
> > > > <http://t.sidekickopen68.com/e1t/c/5/f18dQhb0S7lC8dDMPbW2n0x6l2B
> > > > 9n
> > > > MJ
> > > > N7
> > > > t5XYgdnqQxW7fsH3H4XrddKW1pNgV-56dMhqf2Q-c6C02?t=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.
> > > > li
> > > > nk
> > > > edin.com%2Fpub%2Fchris-morton%2F2%2F166%2F6ba&si=602063681119846
> > > > 4&
> > > > pi
> > > > =2
> > > > 0d48203-2891-4cb8-fd95-abe81b7e7276>
> > > >
> > > >
> > > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > > Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content
> > > strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com
> > >
> > > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > >
> > > You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as ccardimon -at- m-s-g -dot- com -dot-
> > >
> > > To unsubscribe send a blank email to
> > > techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> > >
> > >
> > > Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
> > > http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more
> > > resources and info.
> > >
> > > Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to
> > > our online magazine at http://techwhirl.com
> > >
> > > Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our
> > > public email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives
> > >
> > > Information contained in this e-mail transmission is privileged
> > > and confidential. If you are not the intended recipient of this
> > > email, do not read, distribute or reproduce this transmission
> > > (including any attachments). If you have received this e-mail in
> > > error, please immediately notify the sender by telephone or email reply.
> > >
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> > Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content
> > strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com
> >
> > ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> >
> > You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as Timothy -dot- Slager -at- dematic -dot- com -dot-
> >
> > To unsubscribe send a blank email to
> > techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> >
> >
> > Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
> > http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources
> > and info.
> >
> > Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our
> > online magazine at http://techwhirl.com
> >
> > Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our
> > public email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives
> >
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
> Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy
> and content development | http://techwhirl.com
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as Timothy -dot- Slager -at- dematic -dot- com -dot-
>
> To unsubscribe send a blank email to
> techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>
>
> Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
> http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources
> and info.
>
> Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our
> online magazine at http://techwhirl.com
>
> Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our
> public email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives
>
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as Lynne -dot- Wright -at- kronos -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com


Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources and info.

Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online magazine at http://techwhirl.com

Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
Visit TechWhirl for the latest on content technology, content strategy and content development | http://techwhirl.com

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-leave -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com


Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit
http://www.techwhirl.com/email-discussion-groups/ for more resources and info.

Looking for articles on Technical Communications? Head over to our online magazine at http://techwhirl.com

Looking for the archived Techwr-l email discussions? Search our public email archives @ http://techwr-l.com/archives


Follow-Ups:

References:
Book: What makes a great user manual?: From: Chris Morton
Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?: From: Chris Morton
RE: Book: What makes a great user manual?: From: Cardimon, Craig
Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?: From: Chris Morton
RE: Book: What makes a great user manual?: From: Slager Timothy J
Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?: From: Chris Morton
RE: Book: What makes a great user manual?: From: Slager Timothy J
Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?: From: Chris Morton

Previous by Author: RE: Tech docs in a recent movie
Next by Author: RE: General writing question
Previous by Thread: Re: Book: What makes a great user manual?
Next by Thread: RE: Book: What makes a great user manual?


What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads


Sponsored Ads