Re: [Q] Role of Technical Writers at H-P

Subject: Re: [Q] Role of Technical Writers at H-P
From: Laurie Rubin <lmr -at- SYL -dot- NJ -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 3 Feb 1995 09:55:07 -0500

Lately, I've been calling myself a technical communications generalist,
because I have had the opportunity in the last 16 years experience
to wear many of the hats a technical communicator may wear:
* The documentor.
* The human factors analyst who helps with the gui design specs.
* The user-centered designer who walks in the users' shoes to create a
really useful and usable product (I think they are two different
* The coordinator and performer of usability testing.
* The project manager for documentation.
etc., etc.
I am very much involved in all these facets in my current contracting
assignment at NEC Open Systems (a very small group in NEC). The only problem
is that we are in a user-contact black hole (none whatsoever, but that is a
different, frustrating story!).

I have worn many of these hats in parallel for projects in large companies as
well, including AT&T, Intel, and Bristol-Meyers Squibb. I think I have had
these opportunities because I have been working as a contractor. I do know
that many groups and companies look for a generalist when they look at
contractors: for example, I was selected for a 5-month project over a
colleague with a Ph.D. in Human Factors (which I don't have) to be the human
factors analyst of a development team, because of my past experience to
quickly and smoothly switch all of these hats.

Laurie Rubin
lmr -at- syl -dot- nj -dot- nec -dot- com

> A few months ago, a technical writer at H-P in Colorado Springs appended
> a note describing how technical writers there participate
> in the design of user interfaces. I cannot find this append because the
> archives we could find didn't go back that far. Could someone from H-P
> please post this information again? Or, if you work for another company
> with similar opportunities, I'd like to hear from you too.

> Fern Bassow
> IBM Corporation

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