Re: Merging marketing pubs with tech pubs

Subject: Re: Merging marketing pubs with tech pubs
From: Miles Kimball <miles -dot- kimball -at- MURRAYSTATE -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 1 Sep 1998 13:14:14 -0500

Scott,

Thanks for your response. While you may have a position that doesn't
require you to persuade anyone of the relevance of your work, lots of
technical writing -- I would say nearly all -- does involve that issue.

And I imagine that even when you're writing your "hardcore" documents, you
run across things you really try to convince your readers of -- for
example, how or how not to perform a specific process, or what things
readers need to do or not do. Do you use bold to tell people something is
more important than other parts of the text? Then like it or not, you're
doing some persuading -- persuading people to look and pay attention.

Your other response, wink notwithstanding, implies that you do think your
readers are stupid and that they're entirely responsible if they can't read
your documents successfully -- an awkward attitude, to say the least.

Actually, rather than "feeling sorry" for myself and other technical
writers who pay attention to persuasion and other marketing issues, I find
I like the challenge and the rewards of human-centered document design and
composition. Paying attention to persuasion -- and other reader needs -- is
one of the most demanding and rewarding parts of technical writing.

Miles

At 09:58 AM 9/1/98 -0700, you wrote:
>At 10:11 AM 9/1/98 -0500, Miles Kimball wrote:
>>Beth --
>>
>>I know we'd like to think that what we're doing is objective, scientific,
>>and, well, technical -- but isn't all technical writing a form of marketing
>>information to audiences?
>>
>
>Yee, that sends chills up my spine.... No, I disagree. When I'm producing
>hardcore engineering schematics and supporting documentation for my
>engineers, I do not need to market or convince anyone at all of the value
>of this data. I feel sorry for those who do.
>
>
><snip>
>
>>
>>And on the other side of the question, I've had experiences in which
>>engineering departments strangled documentation efforts with the attitude
>>that users really are stupid and just need to "figure out" how to use the
>>product. Perhaps a little more marketing focus would temper technical goals
>>by leading to a more user-centered attitude in such situations.
>>
>
>
>
>As someone coming from the Engineering side of things and with an admitted
>engineering bias, are you actually implying that users AREN'T "really are
>stupid and just need to "figure out" how to use the product"!!! ;)
>
>
><snip>
>
>
>>Miles Kimball
>>
>
>
><snip>
>
>
>
>#################################################################
>Scott C. Holstad email: sholstad -at- earthlink -dot- net
>Senior Documentation Specialist phone: 626-296-5067
>EarthLink Network fax: 626-296-5113
>3100 New York Drive pager: 213-307-6341
>Pasadena, CA 91107 URL: http://www.earthlink.net
>#################################################################
>
Miles A. Kimball
Director, Professional Writing Program
Murray State University
miles -dot- kimball -at- murraystate -dot- edu

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=




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