Re: What we do for a living

Subject: Re: What we do for a living
From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 09:50:57 -0500

geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA wrote:
> Beverley Henderson wondered what techwhirlers do for a
> living apart from documenting computer stuff.

I missed the original post - but I'll run through some of my stuff.

As my career has progressed, I've grown far more interested in Human
Factors and Usability - essentially, trying to make the system's user
interface work better, so tech writers have less trouble explaining it
to users.

As an adjunct to technical communications, I advise development teams on
human factors issues (frequently starting by imagining how I'd write
help for a task) and conduct usability tests on interfaces (which helps
both the design and documentation processes).

It's gotten to the point where that's what I want to do for a career.
Which is a good thing.

> I'm also involved in assessing new and
> emerging communication media, most recently in the form of
> consulting on our Web site, which is currently contracted
> out (I designed the image map that tells you where you are
> in the site, and provided much of the content, though I'm
> scared to look and see what the consultant did to it); I
> hope to be working more actively on the site later this
> summer. (No, the Web isn't really "new"; it's just new to
> the forest industry.)

This is a nifty opportunity. I did a consulting gig last year where I
helped a company figure out the best way to consolidate their enterprise
dox base in preparation for an upcoming redesign of their network. I
researched and recommended a solution - I didn't do ANY "documentation",
other than my consulting reports. It was simply dreamy!

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