Re: technical Writing Skills

Subject: Re: technical Writing Skills
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- STARBASECORP -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 15:13:12 -0800

Matt Harmon writes...
> I think that (unfortuately) a lot of the people I worked with in my Systems
> Analysis and Design class (especially the instructor) took the attitude of
> "Since you're an English major, you don't know what you're talking about," and
> wouldn't have paid heed even if I had offered suggestions for making things
> easier on the user. Of course, these are also the same people who said that
> we should make these complex systems as easy to use as possible.

> I guess I assumed that this is how the "real world" would be. Good to know
> that it isn't.
> Or is this way the world works and what chance does an English major with
> a Computer Information Systems minor (who works tech support for his
> university) stand in the future?

No, Matt. There is no Easter Bunny. Santa Clause ate him for Thanksgiving!

The real world is (*really is*) cruel and heartless and full of uphill
battles. Just because somebody, somewhere, listens to us some of the
time doesn't mean we're respected/loved/listened to/paid attention to.

Was I reporting what "any good beta tester would have" (I let that one
slide last time around)? No. Not from my experience. Testers are there
to see that the product doesn't crash when you try to load it. They
don't care whether you have to go up to get down or if you can't get
there from here -- only if there are gpf's and resource leaks and help
hooks that are not hooked.

Drop in on the utest list sometime. One of the current threads is how
to get developers to listen to usability professionals! (Do I hear an

So, what chance does and English/CompSci major have? I dunno. 'Bout
the same as the rest of us, I guess. Develop a thick skin and a
certain amount of persistence, learn to state your case well, quote
lots of published resources, and schmooze with management (every
little bit helps!) ;-)

But, without us, what chance does the user have???

Sue Gallagher
StarBase Corp, Irvine CA
sgallagher -at- starbasecorp -dot- com

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