Re: Not Wanted--Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Not Wanted--Technical Writers
From: Kris Olberg <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 28 Dec 1997 19:20:08 -0600

The article points out a major failing amongst many technical writers:

They don't what problem they are trying to solve.

This is NOT the entire fault of the writer; management and technical
contributors play a role as well (as already pointed out by others
responding to this thread).

Ask yourself this: "Do I know what problem I'm trying to solve?" If you say,
"To deliver information enabling the reader to complete a task," I challenge
you: name the 10 most common tasks your readers perform. Then name then 10
most common problems they have performing those tasks. Now I challenge you
further: name 10 uncommon problems they run into.

If you can honestly answer these questions, you're well on your way to
delivering decent docs. If you can't, well ... get the hell out of the
office and into the faces of your users. Learn what they do. Watch them
work. Note their working environment and limitations. Ask them questions.
Put your stuff through usability testing.

You say management won't allocate budget for that? Then get a new job where
they will.

kolberg -at- actamed -dot- com
kris -at- olberg -dot- com, or

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