Re: Write the User Guide First

Subject: Re: Write the User Guide First
From: Jean Farris <jfarris -at- THRU-PUT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 16:01:27 -0700

Well, this does make sense... although they weren't writing a user guide,
they were writing extended functional specs. They just put a pretty name on
it and called it innovative.

Jean-Marie Farris
Technical Writer
Thru-Put Technologies
mailto:jfarris -at- thru-put -dot- com

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Michael Blair [SMTP:mjblair -at- TOTAL -dot- NET]
> Sent: Friday, May 08, 1998 2:01 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Write the User Guide First
> I thought I'd just toss this out to see what happens.
> About ten years ago I took a company sponsored human interface design
> course a few years ago from an outfit called the Learning Tree or some
> such thing. They guy giving the course was an ex-NASA type -- who, btw,
> had some great war stories about the early days of the space program. One
> of the first things he told his audience, exactly one of whom was a
> technical writer, was that when designing a system that humans will use,
> write the user guide first.
> It made sense to me (as the sole tech writer), nor did it seem to be a
> particularly radical idea, but the project managers, analysts and
> programmers also taking the course were scandalized. How could you write
> the user guide before you built the system?
> I should point out that this paritcular company spent millions of dollars
> designing systems without bothering to consult users.
> Michael Blair
> =======================================================================
> Blair Technical Communications Tel: (514) 989-8713
> 106 - 3500 Atwater Avenue Fax: (514) 989-7521
> Montreal, Quebec CANADA H3H 1Y5 Email: mjblair -at- total -dot- net
> ~

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