Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: Joe Mariconda <jmaricon -at- ATITECH -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 10:59:54 -0500

Bravo Phil!
Know your audience and make manuals that fit their frame of reference.
Why impose yours? That just adds needless work for your reader.

Make the manual very easy to use and the writing 'transparent'.
Less is more! Avoid cluttering the reader with new terms and new contexts or
frames of reference.
Walk in the shoes of your audience.

Joe Mariconda


----------
From: Philomena Hoopes [SMTP:PHILA -at- MAIL -dot- VIPS -dot- COM]
Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 1999 10:47 AM
To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
Subject: Re: Style Manuals

I'm seeing a philosophical difference between technical writing as
creative
endeavor and technical writing as tool-building. My perspective is
that the
writing should be as unobtrusive as possible to present new
information
without the distraction of unfamilar packaging.

If I'm documenting programs in a Windows environment, and the lingua
franca
happens to be developed by Microsoft, well, them's the breaks. If I
were
documenting programs in a VAX/VMS or UNIX environment, I'd make it
my
business to learn and use the associated terminology. When I want to
use
language with creative panache, I can write poetry or fiction, or
freelance
with magazines or ad agencies. My purpose in writing manuals is to
be
understood, not to dazzle the reader with my artistic originality.

To use an analogy: imagine what would happen if each car
manufacturer used
entirely different terms for electrical and mechanical components
and
functions!

Philomena Hoopes
Phila -at- vips -dot- com <mailto:Phila -at- vips -dot- com>
VIPS Healthcare Information Solutions, Inc.
(410) 832-8330 ext 845


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