Re: Exactly which illustrations...?

Subject: Re: Exactly which illustrations...?
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Wed, 15 May 1996 12:21:00 -0600

This is the wrong answer. Our first obligations is to the consumers
of technical information. If we can't afford to illustrate a
document, perhaps we can't afford to produce it at all.

I can see this working. Yep. "Hey Boss. You know that 200-page manual that's
scheduled to ship in July? I'm not going to do it because you aren't giving the
money for an illustrator."

Now I can see trying to squeeze the money out of the budget somehow, probably by
pointing out the reduced printing costs when some pages of words can get chopped
because of paragraphs of illustrations. But just outright saying "we won't do it
without pictures" seems to me like a sure ticket to the unemployment line.

The whole "afford" issue must be fought by writers and illustrators.
If we bring all technical communication down to it's most affordable
level, we'll end up with water.

Mike, again you're oversimplifying. "Most affordable" is not what anyone's been
saying. But there's a practical limit to the funding in the well, and demanding
more ain't gonna create more. When the well's dry, the well's dry.

Yes, we should create the best possible manuals. But note the existence of the
word "possible" there. If it's overbudget, it ain't possible. Then the best
thing to do is save up all the unfavorable comments you get, check with tech
support for issues they repeatedly get called about which could be easily
explained in an illustration or two, and take your best shot at getting the next
project to be better funded.

And in many situations, text should be accompanied by high quality
technical illustrations in order to be effective. Regardless of extra
cost.

Oops. I was with you right up to "regardless." The market gives us our bottom
line. If it costs too much, it fails. It's that simple. Superb documentation,
the finest in the world, is no good at all if the product sits on the store
shelf because of an outlandish price.


Have fun,
Arlen
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
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