Re: peanut butter and jelly - revisited

Subject: Re: peanut butter and jelly - revisited
From: Nora Merhar <nmerhar -at- charlesindustries -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Wed, 10 Nov 1999 14:19:53 -0600

It will also depend on what kind of VCR she has.

(couldn't you just cop out and say "Dear Grandma, RTFM"?)

It's not true that the correct amount of documentation is "none".
Otherwise, why
would you ever need recipes? If I say to you "Hey you--make me a PBJ"
are you
seriously telling me that you wouldn't make some sort of attempt to find
out
what kind of bread I would like, what kind of jelly or jam (none of the
PBJ
sandwiches I've ever eaten actually involved jelly, no matter what they
are
called), whether I like my bread with crusts on or off, what kind of PB
I like
(crunchy, smooth, all-natural) and on and on? You could do a serious
amount of
audience analysis with this exercise.

Now, maybe you don't need instructions on how to handle the knife, but
trying to
write instructions for what is considered to be a simple process can be
eye-opening for people who don't do it every day.

Nora
Senior Technical Writer, Charles Industries, Ltd.
nmerhar -at- charlesindustries -dot- com

Mark Baker wrote:

> 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.)




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