Re: Audience Awareness

Subject: Re: Audience Awareness
From: Richard Lippincott <rlippinc -at- BEV -dot- ETN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 23 Nov 1994 11:38:31 EST

David Blyth said:

>Personaly, I've never found "audience awareness" to be useful.

I disagree, I've found it to be -very- useful. When I started tech writing, I
had an illusion that energetic Air Force technicians (in their crisply-pressed
uniforms) were smartly executing every step I wrote, in order.

Then I learned the reality of the base operations. The culmination was
watching repairs on a C-5 engine pylon. One technician was the specialist
in this operation, she was short and thin, and would perform the repairs
-inside- the pylon while upside-down (two other technicians held her by her
feet). I took a photographs not long after that, and hung a copy up by my
desk. It showed a maintenance worker inside an airplane, standing on a seat
and straining to reach things over his head. Sweat was pouring off him, and
the tech manual was at his feet. This was a normal working condition, and
I had to keep an appreciation for that while writing procedures.

We can be -clear-, but we also can make the manuals more useful by understanding
the forces that act against our audience while they're performing our

Rick Lippincott
Eaton Semiconductor
rlippinc -at- bev -dot- etn -dot- com

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