Re: Tech Writer - Why called such?

Subject: Re: Tech Writer - Why called such?
From: "Anthony Markatos" <tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com, tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com
Date: Fri, 12 Nov 1999 16:59:20 PST

Anthony Markatos wrote:

Our primary job is not to write about HOW the product works. It is convey understanding of essential end user tasks accomplished with the product and how those tasks interrelate. It is, in other words, conveying understanding of WHAT the product does to help the user achieve his/her business goals.

We may properly digress from the WHAT and discuss the HOW, but all effective organization is based on the WHAT.

Eric Ray responded:

...my primary [current] job is precisely to write about HOW the product does WHAT, and WHICH aspects of Product A should concern which developers at which times.

Tony Markatos responds:

The WHAT is tasks accomplished. It is procedures followed (tasks consist of procedures - also called steps). When you say that you write about "HOW the product does WHAT", you are writing about the procedures accomplished by the product in performing a given task. You are writing about the WHAT.

The WHICH is simply conditional branches within the procedure.

Eric Ray said:

The original organization was by WHAT, but that was virtually
worthless, because it's like giving a tech writer a list of HTML tags
organized by WHAT they do (these make text bolder and bigger, these
establish links or references among documents, etc) rather than organizing by HOW to use the tags to easily accomplish common or likely tasks.

Tony Markatos responds:

It sounds like you organized by task. Organizing by task is organizing by the WHAT. The HOW properly refers to the mechanism(s) utilized to accomplish the WHAT.

Tony Markatos

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