RE: Are these words being used?

Subject: RE: Are these words being used?
From: "George F. Hayhoe" <george -at- ghayhoe -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>, <writer -at- computer -dot- org>
Date: Sun, 7 Nov 1999 11:20:24 -0500

Bob Morrisette asked whether "orderability" and
"shippability" are valid words for use in a document he's
working on, as the SME on the project maintains.

I'm not an expert in either materials warehousing or order
fulfillment, the subject areas I'd guess this project
relates to, but the decision of whether or not to use these
terms must be made based on the familiarity of the terms to
the document's audience. This is precisely the reason why we
need to do user and task analysis. If these terms are used
by the document's potential audience to the exclusion of any
other, it doesn't matter that we might think they sound
funny. They're the users' terms of choice and should be used
in the document. We shouldn't substitute other words because
we think these are jargon and thereby risk confusing the
reader. On the other hand, if the words are the SME's and
the potential audience uses other terms, we need to find out
what those terms are and use those words in the document.

This is a relatively easy task if the document is going to
be used in-house. You go to the warehouse or the order
fulfillment center and interview some sample users. You
collect examples of documents they've produced themselves
(desktop procedures or job aids). You examine field names in
existing databases.

If the document will be used by a much larger audience (for
example, if the product it will be used with is offered for
sale), you need to do the same kinds of things on a larger
scale.

My guess is that having done the user and task analysis, Bob
will find that these words are the SME's choices and are not
widely used by others. But if this is an in-house project
and that SME has trained all or most of the potential users,
"shippability" and "orderability" may well be the terms to
use in the document.

--George Hayhoe (george -at- ghayhoe -dot- com)

George Hayhoe Associates
Voice: +1 (803) 642-2156
Fax: +1 (803) 642-9325
http://www.ghayhoe.com

Winner
APEX '99 Grand Award for Publication Excellence

Awards of Distinguished Technical Communication
South Carolina/Carolina Foothills STC Chapters
1998-99 Technical Publications Competition






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