TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
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I firmly believe that all documentation is a poor substitute for a
product. Technical communicators need to spend far more
time building relationships with product developers and influencing them to
create self-documenting, intuitive products that don't need 300
pages to explain the basics.
Right on, Mary! Who (in software writing) hasn't had the task of describing
a poorly designed, illogically structured, unnecessarily complex, and maybe
even unnecessary feature or function to make it sound useful and easy and
nice....or who hasn't heard the famous:
"That's not a bug, a feature!" (usually displayed in QA offices with
a little tap dancing insect wearing tophat and tails)
A Canadian example: One of my first writing jobs required that I CALL the
command "COLOR" in the documentation (yep, to appeal to you Amurcans out there!
;-) ), but the (stubborn Canadian) programmers programmed it as COLOUR.
Marketing insisted on COLOR in the doc. Engineering refused (without actually
saying so to management) to change it. So I had to write this _stupid_
statement, something like:
"On some systems, you may need to type in "colour"...
Gwen (ggall -at- ca -dot- oracle -dot- com)
"The question is not the size of your intelligence,
but how you use the little amount of it you might have."