Fewer and fewer novices these days

Subject: Fewer and fewer novices these days
From: Mark Magennis <markmagennis -at- YAHOO -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Jun 1999 01:33:35 -0700

A couple of recent posts have argued whether there are still
enough novices to justify the assumption that your user is a

I think we are all agreed that audiences differ in their
experiences and knowledge. However, I would have thought that,
as a general rule, exactly the opposite is the case. There are
more and more novices these days because computer use is, though
still very limited, spreading very quickly.

Currently in the Republic of Ireland roughly 25% of households
own a computer (or so I've read - seems very high to me). In
most of Africa the figure is more like 0.01% and I would guess
the same is true for most of Asia.

I think it is only in North America that the figure tops 50%, so
the idea that most people are familiar with computer concepts
seems wrong.

The question is, how many of the maybe 95% of people who have
not yet used a computer will have to start using one in the
foreseeable future, either at home or at work? From what I can
see, I would imagine a lot, and the trend is definitely upward.

I would welcome some more informed opinion than mine on this
subject. How is this likely to impact the type of material that
tech writers produce? I'm thinking along the lines that, say 20
years ago, most tech writer jobs were probably to produce
intstructions for complex machinery used in a professional
setting. That is, by users who's job involved being skilled in
using that particular machinery (or software etc.). These days
however, so much computer software is used in an almost
peripheral way by users who's main task is not to do with the
software itself. Like the difference between typists who used to
type reports and managers who now type their own reports. Also,
much software is used in a leisure setting.

How are these trends likely to impact our profession?


Mark Magennis | Technical Author
FM Systems Ltd. | Information Developer
Leopardstown Office Park | Tel: +353 (0)1 295 2549
Foxrock, Dublin 18 | Fax: +353 (0)1 295 2554
Ireland | markmagennis -at- yahoo -dot- com
Do You Yahoo!?
Get your free @yahoo.com address at http://mail.yahoo.com

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

Previous by Author: Re: Summary - including only part of dialog in screen shot
Next by Author: Virus on Andrew Plato's Word file
Previous by Thread: Re: Question: Expensive Punctuation
Next by Thread: [no subject]

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads