TW as Entertainment

Subject: TW as Entertainment
From: David_Dubin -at- NOTES -dot- PW -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 27 Jun 1996 14:06:00 EDT

Time out for just a moment. Let's look a the real issues here.

Point #1
What does technical writing *have to be*?
It HAS TO BE EFFECTIVE!!! End of statement. Period.
s there anyone out there that disagrees with this? If so, I am very interested
to hear what you have to say.

Point #2
Can technical writing be effective without being entertaining?
YES, based on the audience for whom it was written.
If you are writing an equipment user's manual for a target audience that needs
to understand the equipment in order to remain employed and to keep all of
their fingers on their hands, I really don't think they care if it is
entertaining. But, I know they will care if it is neither informative, clear,
concise, or useful.

On the other hand, what about those people whose VCR still blinks 12:00a.m. and
who need their kids to help tape a show?
Don't y'all think that these people would like entertaining documentation that
is not dry and boring, so that maybe they will actually RTFM!!!

Point #3
Is the best written documentation any good if no one uses it?
NO!! So why did you write it???

OK, Dubin, so what is your point, you say. Documentation needs to be written
to either a specific target audience, or to the majority of a target audience
if it is to be useful. If one does not know or understand the needs and
expectations of the target audience, the resultant documentation will neither
fulfill those needs, nor will it meet those expectations.
--End of Lecture
[Step down from Soapbox and return to Audience]

David Dubin -at- notes -dot- pw -dot- com
This has been one man's opinion, yours may vary with mileage .... but I'll
listen to it.

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