RE: Proper Grammar - Need For?

Subject: RE: Proper Grammar - Need For?
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 10:17:39 -0500

I want to thank Sandra Charker for sharing the two links below and recommend
them to every Technical Writer on this list.

> Usability guru Bruce Tognazzini has another take on the conventions of
> flying.
>
> http://www.asktog.com/columns/009mentoys.html
> http://www.asktog.com/columns/027InterfacesThatKill.html
>
In my opinion, Technical Writers are uniquely positioned in the computer
industry to help our developers, designers, and engineers understand the
importance of Human Factors, even if we are not HF experts ourselves.

When writing our procedures, processes, and descriptive analyses we become
intimately familiar with what we're documenting. I hope we become as
familiar with these systems as our users will be. We notice when things are
difficult to use. Yes, we can document how to use the difficult to use
features of a system in such a way that will (we hope) make those features
intelligible to our readers, the system users. However, we can save
everyone a lot of trouble in these areas if we can use our positions to
advocate for our reader/users.

I have had some success (not enough, I'll grant) in getting things made
either easier to use or at least more consistent in user interfaces. Upon
reading the articles linked above, I realize how important it can be to make
that user advocacy a part of my personal job description. I hope you will
take the time to read the articles cited above and consider how you can
become a user advocate where you are doing documentation work, too.

Thank you for allowing me to use the soap box.

Tom Murrell




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