RE: Document layout: Whose decision?

Subject: RE: Document layout: Whose decision?
From: "Michael West" <mike -dot- west -at- oz -dot- quest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Feb 2001 12:48:31 +1100

Someone asked:

> To what extent is it your decision as the tech
> writer/tech writing department how to lay out manuals,
> and to what extent is it the programmers' decision?

I've been doing tech comms for 20-something years and
I've never heard of programmers making page-layout
decisions except out of desperation when there is no
one else competent to make them. Suggestions, comments,
requests, sure -- but there has never been any implied
'authority' on the part of programmers to overrule design
decisions made by technical communications specialists.

Unless any such assertions are supported by relevant and
authoritative facts, they can be "taken on board" (as the
cliche goes) and then quietly disposed of in the nearest
recycling bin.

At the same time, it is important for us to know WHY we
do things a certain way, and to be prepared to explain it
to others who may not know that there is a rationale and
a long tradition supporting our methods and techniques.

What's the old saying? "Opinions are like ... (something or
other): everybody's got one"?

Michael West

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