Writing and Design

Some people think that the writer’s goal is to produce a collection of words. Wrong. Just as important is the design of the written deliverable.

A database-driven e-commerce site using FileMaker Pro and Lasso.

Our writing, whether delivered online as a web site, HTML help, or hard copy, is designed to permit users multiple paths to a specific chunk of information. We put considerable thought and effort into developing a complete understanding of the user audience and their needs. We want as much as possible to know how they think. We want to understand what assumptions about the customer are built into the product. And then we design a documentation model and navigational schema suited to their needs.

The model implemented should be transparent to the end user. That is, whatever schema you implement, it should make it so easy for the user to find what they are looking for that they barely notice it. It is the means to the end. If that means gets in the way of the end user finding what they are looking for, it does not matter how well the words are written. (The same principle is true of software: while the underlying technology may be brilliant, if the user interface gets in the way, the engineers have wasted their time.)

We choose the vocabulary and words suitable to the audience. Working within the constraints and assumptions of the project, we select the documentation methods most appropriate to the product and the customer. And we organize and write the content necessary to complete the model. Making sure we have a thorough understanding of the technical content.