Re: Occupational hazard of techie tech writers

Subject: Re: Occupational hazard of techie tech writers
Date: Mon, 2 Nov 1998 09:02:55 -0500

I might being playing catch-up on this thread. Sorry if my comments
echo those already said.

IMHO The way we can avoid failing our users is to identify them and
make the choice to write for them.

Explaining to someone internetwork communications this weekend was an
excellent opportunity for me to practice what I write. A guest on
board our sailboat did not understand why she couldn't "see" into
other domains from her AOL account. Rather than explain in terms like
nodes, FTP, packets, and domains which meant NOTHING to her, I
explained it in metaphor. She and her "access" were in one cubicle and
she had to "tell" her system (read PC) to talk to another domain in
next cubicle. She readily grasped the concept that the "communication"
could go over the wall around the wall or even through it once it was
told to do so.

Simplistic, you bet! Did she need the techy mumbo jumbo, no. She got
what she asked for in terms and concepts that she could use.

I wish writing were that easy.

Too return to my point. We should have a through understand of are
subject matter, maybe even be an SME if we can. We have to digest the
information and present it in terms and at a level that our users can
use. Identifying audience is a must to write successfully. If we fail
to ID them properly, or at all, then our prose is going to fail them.

Thanks to all for letting me spout.

Bill Paine
Sr. Technical Writer
Lanier Worldwide
Wpaine -at- lanier -dot- com

"Just because I am crunchy and may taste good with ketchup, I do not
eschew the affairs of dragons and other such beasts."

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

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