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> I'll agree that user-oriented technical writing is the best idea, but in
> many cases what the user needs isn't necessarily what the user wants.
I think this is a dangerous proposition for a technical writer to take too far.
If the writer does enough investigation of the users tasks, and the job
they are responsible for, I think you will find that the user is very
inclined to want what they need. They just don't want all the "fru-fru"
that we sometimes drape around the essential core of information that is
When that "essential core" is obscured by the other material, it does two
things. First, it makes it difficult to find the essential information,
and, second, it makes it difficult to identify when I do find it.
Or, I could write the above paragraph this way.
Inessential information in a manual obscures the important information. :-)
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