Re: Minimalism/Schema/Intuition

Subject: Re: Minimalism/Schema/Intuition
From: Jane Bergen <janeb -at- ANSWERSOFT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 08:57:35 +0000

On 31 Jan 97 at 9:35, Victor Chapel wrote:

> We can apply the concepts to helping developers/engineers with
> constructive criticism. If they're actually interested in
> improving the product, they might listen. Don't limit yourself to a
> "strictly writing" role.

I agree. I think too often as writers we are forced into looking at
our writing through the eyes of engineers instead of users.

In linguistics, we worked with the idea of "schema" which is not
quite intuition. It's more of "shared experience" as applied to
culture, usually. Software documentation makes use of schema --- as
writers we have to constantly assess whether our readers/users share
that common experience / knowledge, or whether we should take the
time to explain things in greater detail.

> One last not-so-glamorous example: How many documents have you
> read about how to use a toilet?

Umm. Have you ever visited Europe and tried to figure out a bidette
the first time? Not very intuitive to me! As I understand it, they
really did produce written instructions for some of the Russian
troops in WWII to use toilets. And I've seen some hilarious
instructions used when the telephones were introduced in this
country. When I lived in Lebanon, I remember being blown away when
I showed someone the intricacies of using a water fountain at the
American University in Beirut. They were scared to death of it...
Never take anything for granted.

"my opinions are my own..."
Jane Bergen, Technical Writer
janeb -at- answersoft -dot- com
AnswerSoft, Inc.

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