Re: beginner seeks info, knowing product well

Subject: Re: beginner seeks info, knowing product well
From: JohnBrin <johnbrin -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 31 May 1994 16:11:03 -0400

Andrew J. English wrote:
>Seems to me that much technical writing is about knowing a product
or service >well, and documenting it; knowing a product and being
able to explain it is more >important than using proper grammar and

True, but knowing a product or service well is only part of a tech
communicator's qualification. Knowing users and their world of work
is at least as important, and I my opinion, not given enough
attention by most technical communicators.

It is easy to assume that the engineers' view of users' needs is the
right, or that the technical communicator's view of users' is right,
but seldom does either view reflect reality.

Typically, our goal is excellent documentation. We and our employers
often lose sight of the fact that our real goal is high on-the-job
performance by our users.

Usability testing helps, but if that happens only after the product
and it's documentation are developed, it may be too late. Products
and services developed with users involved in their development are
likely to meet real user needs, and may need little, if any,
documentation and training.

John Brinegar
Phoenix, AZ, U.S.A.

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