Re: peanut butter and jelly - revisited

Subject: Re: peanut butter and jelly - revisited
From: "Mark Baker" <mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 13:40:14 -0500

Justin Cascio wrote

>Do you talk about target audience before doing this exercise? It sounds
>a cute schtick, but unless your target audience is aliens with no jars or
>similar items in their culture, and no concept of gravity, can't you assume
>that your target audience, if they're savvy enough to read instructions,
>also figure out that jelly falls out of an upturned jar?

Amen to that.

As communicators we should know better than to set up an example for which
the correct amount of documentation is none. Just because an exercise is fun
and engaging does not meant that it is demonstrating the right thing. To
repeat what I said yesterday on a related topic, the wrong thing done well
is still the wrong thing.

If people want an exercise which has legitimate real world content I suggest
the following:

You have been interviewed for a national television program. Your
grandmother wants to see you on the show, but she will be away from home the
day it is on.

Write a letter to your grandmother telling her how to program her VCR to
tape your show.

To test the result, send your letter to your actual grandmother.

(And no slight to the technical savvy of grandmothers is involved here.
Different grandmother's will require different instructions, based on their
technical knowledge and skill. Know your audience.)

Mark Baker
Senior Technical Communicator
OmniMark Technologies Corporation
1400 Blair Place
Gloucester, Ontario
Canada, K1J 9B8
Phone: 613-745-4242
Fax: 613-745-5560
Email mbaker -at- omnimark -dot- com

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