Re: technical Writing Skills

Subject: Re: technical Writing Skills
From: Kelly Hoffman <kelly -at- NASHUA -dot- HP -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 10 Feb 1995 17:20:23 -0500

Mean Green Dancing Machine (aahz -at- netcom -dot- com) wrote :

> > my ability to program in C turned out to be crucial in writing
> > the manual, in large part because I was able to get the
> > programmer to change the product design in certain ways that made
> > it easier to document.

Matt Harmon <mh1704 -at- ACS -dot- APPSTATE -dot- EDU> responded:

> Meaning no disrespect but, shouldn't a good technical writer be
> able to get around any aspects that make a product difficult to
> document?

Of course. However, for software, it's almost always true that
"easier to document" means "easier to use." As tech writers, we
should be user advocates: Anything that improves the usability of the
software is a good thing, despite the fact that a side benefit is to
make our own job easier. ;-)

(In past jobs, I worked with some programmers who balked at making a
change simply because it would make the product easier to use, but
were perfectly happy to make a change that would make *my* job easier.
It seems they were more comfortable when I offered the "ulterior
motive" explanation. Go figure.)


Kelly K. Hoffman Hewlett-Packard, Network Test Division, Nashua, NH
kelly -at- nashua -dot- hp -dot- com "Reading the manual is admitting defeat."

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