More or less - Was Tracking Off

Subject: More or less - Was Tracking Off
From: Kevin Feeman <Kevin -dot- Feeman -at- micromass -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 15 Dec 1999 11:38:23 -0500

With all of this talk regarding user analysis, what to give or what not to
give in a manual, and the list goes on, got me thinking about how I am
writing a user's manual for a 32-bit application that creates tailored text.
The program has many of the features that a lot of the other word processing
programs has, including saving files, maximizing and minimizing windows, and
the list goes on. My target base is marketing/creative writers who will be
writing these tailored communication materials. Level of computer experience
unknown, since we have yet to go to market, nor to we have any beta
customers (though one has just signed on!). So I am using the writers here
as a sample audience. As a technical writer who has been in this business
for the last 7.5 years, I know a lot about the basics of word processing
programs, such as mentioned above. I have been talking to my "sample
audience" many whom have similar knowledge. Is it safe to assume that my
target audience, who are writers, would know these things? Especially since
computers have become so embedded into our work! At least, to a large
degree. Or should I assume that there could be writers out there that don't
even know how to turn on a computer? My initial thinking was to add the
information, and if people don't need it, they can skip over those sections.

With all of the talk about what to give and what not to give, how does one
decide? Or is this just another chance to throw flaming arrows at list
members? I know that there is probably no correct answer, I was just wanting
to get a feel how you all would approach writing a user's guide for an
application that will be used by other writers.

Kevin Feeman
Technical Publications Manager
MicroMass Communications Inc. <>
(919) 851-3182 Ext. 3105
kevin -dot- feeman -at- micromass -dot- com

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