Re: Testing your reviewers

Subject: Re: Testing your reviewers
From: Barb Philbrick <burkbrick -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 15 Jan 1997 19:37:19 GMT

>>I decided that the nice formatting definitely got in the way of
technical
>>reviews, and contemplated producing tech-review drafts using a much
plainer
>>format - not wrapping anything much in paragraphs.

I found that it just doesn't seem to matter. I've put questions and
sections I want the engineers to read in huge weird (but still readable)
type and they go right over it - even if they've answered other items on
the same page.

The method I've found that works best is to put questions and
"I-largely-made-this-up-please check-carefully-stuff" in footnotes. If
there are several reviewers, I put the appropriate person's name at the
beginning of the footnote (I put comments to myself in them, too). In one
hideous on-going document I put footnotes that haven't been addressed yet
in conditional text so I can do intermittent releases wihtout losing my
ideas. (The conditional text/footnote option might work as a reminders for
jokes, too.)

I think this works well because:
1. Footnotes are easy to spot. The reviewer can flip through the bottom
part of the document to find footnotes.
2. I ask the reviewers to please, even if they can't do anything else,
check the questions with their names on them. This lightens their load;
they don't have to read the whole document. I always remind them that I
appreciate other comments as well.
3. If they feel the need to go to a separate page to answer questions,
they can use the footnote number as a reference.

This method has worked well for me with several of my clients. It also
makes me appear more organized, since if I sit down to interview someone
I'm not shuffling through the document and my notes.

Hope this helps someone!

Barb Philbrick

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