In the belief that tech writers are sorely underutilized, as well
as unappreciated, misunderstood and wrongly blamed (see Tech
Writers Need a Manifesto), UnTechnical Press is sponsoring the creation of a Tech Writer's Manifesto.
We don't expect it to be adopted by any organizations, but we want it to
apply to as many individual tech writers as possible, so we're asking for input.
This is what we want it to accomplish:
- Let employers and those who contract with us know what our capabilities
are and how we may be of value to them in ways they never knew.
- Let development teams know how we can contribute to team
dynamics and product development.
- Let consumers know that we, as technical writers and other technical
communicators, really want to provide them with excellent, readable,
understandable manuals and other documentation, and how they can help us
Following is a rough draft of the manifesto. You are invited to comment
and suggest changes and additions. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Tech Writers' Manifesto (
Rough Draft 2)
Today, technology and technical products are flooding the world.
There's new technology in the home, in schools and in the workplace.
More than ever, there is a need for better technical documentation and
better product design, yet products are still entering the market with
bad design and useless, confusing documentation.
As technical communicators, we are ready and willing to help
solve these problems.
We are not "manual writers" to be brought in at the last minute to
slap together a useless manual just so the company can say that itís
Who we are:
- Skilled communicators, who use words, sound, graphics and other media to
get the message across
- Teachers who help newcomers to technology learn the territory
- Artists and designers who put their skills and experience at your disposal
- People who care about the quality of work they do
- Part of the product design and development team
- Advocates for the customer within the design team
- We are the interface to the interface
What we do:
- Teach by communicating between company and customer
- Increase productivity by improving communication within product
- Aid corporate function by increasing communication between development
teams and the rest of the company, including to marketing and management
- Improve products with our ability to communicate in writing and
communicate through visual and interactive design
- Improve company reputations by giving customers a positive first
experience with a product
- Increase company profits by lowering customer service and tech support
- Create documents, manuals, help systems, graphics, videos, user interfaces
or whatever else it takes to quickly and clearly present the information
that needs to be understood
What we expect:
- To come into a project while it is still in the design stage
- To aid design teams with internal written documentation
- To test and improve user interfaces as well as document them
- To test the product and help eliminate bugs and other problems
- To help write, edit and clarify any text, labels or names of things in or
on the product.
What we need:
- Support from team members and management to do quality work
- Enough time, resources and budget to do quality work
- A corporate culture that understands that documentation is part of a
product, is part of the interface
We promise to:
- Hold ourselves responsible for learning the latest methods and techniques
for clearly communicating complex information
- Hold ourselves responsible for learning about product and interface
design, even though we may not be the "designer" on the team.
- Communicate the necessary information in the clearest, most useful and
best method possible
Please help us craft this document to make it as useful as possible.
Email your comments and suggestions at email@example.com.
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