Value of TC: "real life" examples?

Subject: Value of TC: "real life" examples?
From: Ken d'Albenas <kendal -at- AUTOTROL -dot- CUC -dot- AB -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 30 Aug 1993 22:07:31 MDT

I know we've touched this topic from different angles in the past
in the techwr-L list, so if you've already written something that
addresses the request, feel free to point me to the item(s) with
approximate dates. I have the archives.

Reply to me personally, or to the list if you want general discussion.

Many thanks.


A few STC chapters are halfway through a 15-month study into the
need for, and capabilities of, technical communicators. The goal
of the project is to gather all necessary data to promote the
value of technical communication to industry. Every industry.

Although we, the technical communicators, know the value of our
services, we often fall into the same trap as our clients: we often
take for granted the myriad ways in which our work adds value.
It is hard to give clients (or bosses) a solid feel for that value
if it remains intangible. (It's hard to convince anyone of
anything - pure mathematicians excepted - without solid examples.)

We'd love your input. What we're looking for, specifically, are
real life examples of successes and catastrophes that happened as
a direct result of technical communication (the success or failure

Since technical communicators are often involved in product or
interface design, feel free to forward anecdotes of that sort
as well. For a really notorious example, remember the downing
of the Iranian jetliner? Was it caused by a failure in personnel
training? A failure of the user interface to help the operator
avoid a fatal mistake when under pressure?

(Aside to Joe Chew: we'll put your "Check petrol tank with a
torch" quote at the top of the list. That was rich!)



Ken d'Albenas Don Steirer,
President, Vice President and WED Project Coordinator,
STC Alberta Chapter STC Alberta Chapter


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