Re: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer

Subject: Re: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer
From: Katherin King <kking -at- BROOKTROUT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 11:18:37 -0400

Bill Swallow wrote:

"I not only write, but I also design the document, envision the
online interface, design the interface, build it, create all the
graphics, perform the usability testing, and monitor the
installation
of the product. Before all that, there's the initial needs
analysis,
audience analysis, and other planning steps.

I don't know about you, but I prefer to call what we do
"information
design and management" to say the VERY least. "Translation" is
such a
small fraction of the big picture.

Am I totally off on this? Am I involved in too much of the
documentation process? I think not. I may be called a control
freak,
but this way I know the end-user needs are addressed from start
to
finish."

User documentation is the whole package, not just the written word, and
everything you listed is part of the "translation" process, in my mind.
You can't "translate" something if the end result isn't understood by
the person you are translating for. User analysis, selection of fonts,
style, graphics, terminology, layout, binding, etc., all have to do with
how useful the end product is to the user.


Kathy Stanzler
Technical Writer
Brooktrout Technology Inc.
Southborough, MA
(508) 229-7777 ext. 182
kking -at- brooktrout -dot- com




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