Re: Our Real Nemesis

Subject: Re: Our Real Nemesis
From: Sharon Burton <sharonburton -at- EMAIL -dot- MSN -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 20 May 1998 07:09:19 -0700

I do a 1.5 hour talk about designing effective templates that I call
"Designing the Invisible Messenger" to emphasize that an effective template
is invisible to the reader - they do not notice it - and forwards the
message effectively.

It is all a balance. I have seen beautiful books that hindered the message
so that it was unreadable. I have also seen such poor design that the
message was unreadable. A good example was the first edition of Hortons Icon
book. The second edition is great and much improved. The message could be
the same in both but the first edition was poorly designed and virtually
unreadable because of the design.

My opinion.


Sharon Burton
Anthrobytes Consulting
Home of RoboNEWS, the award-winning unofficial RoboHELP Newsletter
anthrobytes -at- anthrobytes -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- AXIONET -dot- COM>
Date: Tuesday, 19 May, 1998 7:15 PM
Subject: Re: Our Real Nemesis

>William Meisheid wrote:
>> And I believe I am correct in saying that the real function
>> of technical communication is meeting the needs of the user,
>> no matter what other agendas are attached along the way.
>> Once the document, or the help system, or the process
>> itself, becomes an end in itself, the real function is lost.
>No argument from me, although from your reply I suspect that you're
>expecting one.
>Based on Eric Gill's "Essay on Typography" and my own exposure to the
>best of typography, I firmly believe that, if a manual is designed with
>ease of reading and scanning in mind, then it is not only functional but
>also a highly aesthetic object as well.
>Personally, I disagree with both extremes.
>Those who insist only on function forget how much layout affects that
>Those who insist only on aesthetic forget that the manual is not an end
>in itself.
>Neither extreme produces the best work.
>Bruce Byfield, Outlaw Communications
>Vancouver, BC, Canada
>(604) 421-7189 or 687-2133
>bbyfield -at- axionet or bruce -at- dataphile-ca -dot- com
> (updated 1 May , 1998)
>"Yours is the open road,
>The bitter song, the heavy load
>That I'll never share
>Though the offer's still there,
>Every time you turn around."
>- Stan Rogers

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