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> A contract writer is hired to...write the book...do the help...as a writer
> with a specific purpose. A full-time, on the team, in your face
> can do so much more! If you're a memeber of the development team and are in
> on the ground-floor product meetings, you can have a profound influence on
> the entire product. Convincing the developemnt team that communication starts
> at the GUI, then reinforcing that concept with constant contributions in
> communication ideas -- how to make the screen look better, easier to read,
> more organized, what metaphore to use for the toolbar, what type of control
> works best for the specific information -- is hard work, but can be
> extremely rewarding!
> Writers that I know that contract often complain about concepts that are
> difficult to explain, interfaces that are convoluted... I don't have to
> do that! When you can fix it on the screen, you don't have to appologize for
> it in the manual/help.
Speaking from long, long experience in the development world, I can attest to
the fact that a good contract writer does all of the above AS A CONTRACTOR
unless specifically requested to not participate. There is no reason in the
world why a good contract tech writer can't serve as part of the development
team - and in fact, I have done so many, many times. I have done the *in their
face* type of product design you mention, but AS A CONTRACTOR many times over.
Just because I work on a contract basis doesn't mean my ideas are any less
valuable. In fact, because I bring a very wide set of experience to the table,
the development teams are MORE willing to listen to me than to a younger
captive writer who hasn't seen as many projects fail as I have, nor has
experienced many different ways of approaching something.