Who cares if they read it or not?

Reading time: 1 min
Seriously, do we spend too much time worrying about this? What do we get paid for after all, to write documentation, so that’s what we should concentrate on doing. So what if no-one reads it, as long as I’ve done my job I’ll get paid. And no, I don’t care if they don’t understand how to use the product properly, if they choose not to read the documentation then there isn’t much more I can do, is there? Yeah, they might get stuck but if I can learn it, so can they. If not then maybe they shouldn’t Pander, pander, pander. I’m sick of it. The documentation is perfectly good and until people learn to read it then they really …

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Thanks for complaining

Reading time: 2 mins
Ever get the feeling that no-one reads your documentation? It’s a frequent issue amongst Technical Writers and the general stance reflects the approach many take to make sure that, when someone finally picks up the documentation, they can get to the information they need as quickly as possible. Given that, there is little worse than to have errors reported in your documentation. After all, if they’ve only just started using it to help them solve a problem and one of the first things they spot is an error then it’s understandable that confidence drops and that they are less likely to go to the documentation in the future. Of course we all do the very best job we can, yet …

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How to make a cup of tea

Reading time: 5 mins
Further to my Too Simple post, and in response to the comment from Annie about the state of software manuals, I thought I’d try and give a bit of insight into the basic workings of my profession. Yes, that’s right I DO have a day job. I am a technical author and I write software documentation (actually I don’t like the “technical author” job title but that’s a different story). Before I begin I’ll state that I’m not the most experienced technical author (there are people who have been doing this for 40 years), I’ve only ever worked in a software environment, and as in most professions there are a number of different methodologies and working practises which I can …

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RTFM

Reading time: 1 min
I’m published baby, yea! Finally got around to writing an article for Speakeasy, and whaddya know, that nice bloke Carey published it (and only a couple of grammatical errors to correct too, which were only in there to see if he was paying attention…). Titled “R.T.F.M. – The plight of the Technical Communicator” it is an insider view of my profession, or at least one aspect of it. If you’ve ever used product documentation, it might be of interest. So what are you waiting for? Go read it now.

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Free Book

Reading time: 1 min
OK I’ve only skimmed a few pages of this, but it looks good so far. What is it? “A few months ago a group of writers with Web sites decided to get together and make a book. The idea was for each writer to compose a story on the theme ‘How-to,’ to result in a bound volume titled ‘Manual.’” So go ahead and Read the Fucking Manual – RTFM indeed. To comment, or not to comment… The majority of the sites I visit have a comment facility of some sort, and I’ve been toying with adding one myself for sometime now. The one thing that keeps stopping is maintenance. Battleground God Answer 17 questions about your religious beliefs (this is …

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