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I think the best argument for not using a term like "information designer"
or "font nudger" is that the person doing the hiring isn't familiar with
those terms. The people who do the hiring know what a technical writer is,
so I continue to call myself one. *Everyone's* job descriptions are
expanding; as long as our peers have a fairly good idea of what we do, I
think it best that we still answer to the same name.
From: Dan Roberts [mailto:droberts63 -at- earthlink -dot- net]
Sent: Sunday, November 07, 1999 10:17 AM
Subject: RE: Tech Comm Portfolio
fwiw, "information designer" doesn't quite sit right - makes me feel like
I'm twiddling fonts and nudging kerns more than bashing out concepts,
procedures, and all that stuff.
This subject was discussed a little while ago. Most folks seemed to like to
stick with 'technical writer' although some wanted to go with 'information
developer'. Both are good - ya gotta get the words first, no matter which
format they finally get delivered in, so TW works. But a lot of what we
churn out is more than (oh dear, this could get me in trouble) just
technical - we write white papers, and policies and procedures, and god
knows what else - but it's information and we develop it from raw
materials - specs, sample code, interviews, beta applications, etc. And,
'writer' might conjure up too many associations with quill pens and
parchment. And 'technical communicator' is just too much of a mouthful for
me to get out easily - it just doesn't roll trippingly off the tongue <g>.
as for 'instructional designer ' - or developer - got me there. I think some
skills definately overlap, but they can be two completely different areas.
and speaking of fonts, anyone out there using that MS Comic Sans Serif? I
kinda like it, makes the doc look less stodgy and intimidating. But then
again, my typical response to finding bugs in the software i'm doc'ing is
"Broke, no good" (long story).
droberts63 -at- earthlink -dot- net
Delores Delago for President
> -----Original Message-----
> My generic resume says that I'm a "writer, editor, designer *
> print and
> web." My tech comm resume inserts the word technical before "writer."
> But is the word "design" appropriate for the tech field? I
> have not seen
> it often used. Or would "information design" be better?
> Actually now that I
> think about it, why don't technical communicators refer to
> themselves more
> often as information designers -- I think it is a more
> descriptive term.
> Does it sound too high-falutin? Not able to be understood by
> an average
> reader? Because "technical communicator" also does not tell
> the story.
> In any case, for those of us (and I gather it's most of us)
> designing our
> docs as well as writing them, is there a common descriptive term?
> And, another question: is an instructional designer a
> sub-category of an
> information designer?
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