Re: Information Mapping

Subject: Re: Information Mapping
From: Kent Newton <kentn -at- METRIX-INC -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 10:13:00 PDT

On Thursday, June 27, 1996 9:56 AM, Bill Hartzer wrote:

>Welcome to the world of Technical Writing, Tim! We're _NOT_ here
>to entertain the reader. As Technical Writers, we're here to get
>the information a reader needs to them in the shortest amount of
>time while making it easy for them to understand. If our readers
>need entertainment, they should read a John Grisham novel, _NOT_ a
>User's Guide. Technical Writing is _NOT_ entertainment writing. It
>never has been and never should be. If Technical Writing was
>reading, 99 percent of Americans would know how to program their VCRs!

That last sentence seems to me to refute the concept that technical
writing shouldn't be entertaining -- or at least interesting. The goal of
the technical writer isn't to present "the information a reader the shortest amount of time while making it easy for them to
understand." The goal is to impart information that the reader will be
able to use, whatever the method used. The fact that 99 percent of
Americans don't know how to program their VCRs indicates to me that the
VCR manuals aren't acheiving that goal. Now, if the information was
presented in an enteraining way, maybe 99 percent of Americans would read
their manuals and know how to program their VCRs!

Kent Newton
Senior Technical Writer
Metrix, Inc.
kentn -at- metrix-inc -dot- com

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