Saturday, 21 March 2009

Back to basics: talk to your users

Yesterday I gave a presentation at the STC France Chapter Conference in Paris in which I presented evidence suggesting that, on the whole, we (technical writers in general) are not very successful in our jobs: many people still find technical manuals confusing. The evidence comes from my recent survey and other sources. I suggested that we need to get back to basics, and do our very best to talk to our users, as the leading lights in our profession have been telling us to do for years. (If you missed me in Paris, you might want to catch up with me in Greenwich, or in Vienna, where I'll be giving repeat performances.)

Today, Scott Adams had a go at interface designers in his Dilbert comic strip. So when it comes to not being very successful in our jobs, we are not alone.