Re: Two Techwriting Issues

Subject: Re: Two Techwriting Issues
From: Billie Wahlstrom <bwahlstr -at- MAILBOX -dot- MAIL -dot- UMN -dot- EDU>
Date: Mon, 20 Dec 1993 09:42:34 -0600

Issue 1.
Research suggests that use of the 2nd person (what's currently called a reader
based approach to documentation) is more effective than 3rd person. As a
consequence, we (at the U of MN and elsewhere) are teaching our tech comm
students to follow this model in reference manuals. Billie Wahlstrom

In message <01H6L15GPAWMDBHIUM -at- VX -dot- CIS -dot- UMN -dot- EDU> "Technical Writers List; for all
Technical Communication issues"
> Dear Techwriters,

> "Bitter constraint and sad occasion dear
> Compels me to disturb your season due;" (Milton, Lycidas)

> Indeed, debates in my documentation dept. has prompted this call for
> adv
> ice
> in regard to the following two issues:

> Issue 1:

> We are presently rewriting our reference manuals, and a proposal has
> bee
> n made
> to rewrite them in the second person instead of the third person.
> I
> n essence,
> where
> the old manual addresses the user as user, the new manuals will now
> addr
> ess the
> user
> as you. I would appreciate some opinions on this matter.

> Issue 2:

> As we rewrite the new manuals (in Framemaker 4), we are hoping that we
> c
> an
> easily use the
> files to develop the on-line help for the Windows applications that
> thes
> e
> manuals document.
> Unfortunately, as far as we know, all Windows online help packages
> (such
> as
> RoboHelp) use
> Microsoft Word files. This makes it necessary to maintain two files:
> th
> e
> Framemaker file for
> the documentation and the Word file for the on-line help. Can anyone
> ou
> t there
> offer some
> possible resolution to this matter.

> Thanks for your interest in these matters. Best to you and yours for
> th
> e
> holidays and the
> new year.

> Matthew

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