Re: Multimedia conversation

Subject: Re: Multimedia conversation
From: Daniel John Brinegar <6545 -at- EF -dot- GC -dot- MARICOPA -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1993 13:03:35 -0700

From Bonni Graham, responding to Ann Hill:

> Author : Bonni Graham <Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
> Subject : Re: Multimedia conversation
> Written : 12/21/93.12:32pm

> Ann Hill writes:
>> "The conversation [on Multimedia] didn't "catch on" too much, so I'll try
>>again with some > different questions."

Bonni Said:
> I stayed out because I know nada about the practicalities of producing
> multimedia stuff, but if it's philosophical...

> Ann goes on to ask:
>> "Why should we as technical communicators use multimedia? What gains will
>> there / might there be? What losses? Who will really benefit and who will
>> lose?
>> Bill Horton (in latest issue of TC) says that, like it or not, we have
>> to become > multimedia experts (or as close to that as possible).

Bonni Commented:
> I would challenge Bill, and say that we need to become human factors experts
> first, so we can know what media (or combination thereof) to use most
> effectively for our target audience. We need to speak up more and demand user
> contact, documentation usability testing (or even alpha/beta testing of the
> manual and ol help). I _don't_ think we should completely switch to any one
> medium (some people will _always_ want paper manuals, some will _only_ look
> online, some want animation and music on CD-ROM, etc.)

I would say;

I'm sure Bill Horton hasnt strayed far from his early and consitent
insistence that we Technical Communicators concentrate on the human factors
of communication. In my reading of Bill, he concentrates on _Designing
Online Documentation_ and _Illustrating Computer Documentation_ because
the sheer power of DTP and Graphics packages these days (Not to mention
full-scale packages like Interleaf and Frame) makes it possible for the
less-than-skilled of our colleagues to really screw things up without


((Okay, we can screw things up no matter how skilled we are with the tools
we're using...))

The keys to me seem to be the Human Factors;
o empathy,
o planning ahead,
o Needs analysis, t
o task analysis,
and something Guy Kawasaki and My Dad keep harping on,


That's the whole point of sophisticated tools like DTP or Multimedia....
The issue should be using the tools to push ourselves into new realms...
"Doing something new in marvelously new ways, not finding glitzy new ways
to do what we've always done....." (To paraphrase Gloria Geary,
author of _Electronic Performance Support Systems_)

<evangelical smile>
Happy holidays,

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