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.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Reasons for online From:"Bonni J. Graham" <bgraham -at- ELECTRICITI -dot- COM> Date:Wed, 21 Dec 1994 08:05:42 PST
"Only a stupid person would fail to find the answer. I would love to see
some substantial (worthy of indexing) text about building a project which
never uses the words "build" or "project." If the text is about "creating"
a project, I just don't see the need for someone to waste the amount of
time necessary to index everything similar to "create." It is up to the
searcher to find, and we as writers can help, but we cannot handle the case
of unmotivated idiots. My advise is -- don't bother."
I have to disagree with Glen's disagreement. In the example, yes, maybe
you're catering to the PDUs (Poor Dumb Users) a little too much (although
we ARE here to help the user no matter how moronic we think they are,
aren't we?). But what about the Ventura 3.0 manual that had three pages on
creating bleeding tabs and NEVER ONCE called them that. Even if it had
been online and set up for full-text seraching, I would not have found what
I was looking for, because the words never appeared on the page. I'm not
an unmotivated idiot, really I'm not. I did everything but read the entire
index looking for anything that resembled bleeding tab. I finally found
the information by accident, looking through the section on frames, for
Pete's sake -- I think they called them "edge frames" or some such
Are we to restrict the user to using only those terms the company decides
to call features? I feel that the purpose of an index or set of keywords
is to provide alternate access as well. Maybe I'm just spoiling my
readers, but I don't think it's fair to call them idiots because they use a
different term to refer to something than I or my company does. My job, at
least part of it, is to make them comfortable with the tools they're using.
Director, Region 8 Conference
bgraham -at- electriciti -dot- com