RE: teaching technical writing to engineers

Subject: RE: teaching technical writing to engineers
From: "Diane Evans" <diane_evans -at- hotmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 24 Mar 2004 08:43:35 -0800

I would recommend doing some usability testing that should, hopefully, bring
home the reality that no matter how clear and how obvious something may be
to the writer, it doesn't necessarily mean their audience will understand

Boy, ain't that the truth!

The wonderful pharmaceutical firm that is our parent company just built us a new building (Our grand opening is today). It has state-of-the-art conference rooms with huge screen TV's connected to a Polycom Video Conferencing system, Mimio boards, Document cameras, a host computer connected to the company intranet, and enough laptop connections to make a room full of multiplayer gamers happy.

The only problem: no one can figure out how to use all the stuff. The instructions are two typewritten pages laid on the tables that are nearly impossible to understand or follow. We have top-notch programmers, robotic engineers, and biologists, and none of us can consistently get the stupid host computer to start up...

Diane Evans
Technical Writer

Washington State Coordinator, Tombstone Project

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