Lather. Rinse. Repeat. (The Procedure Series, Part 1)

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

When you think of the word “procedure,” you probably think of attorneys following courtroom etiquette or your HR department’s stuffy “Policies and Procedures” documentation. If you’re a tech writer, you might also think of the instructions you write every day. (“1. Click the File menu. 2. Click Print.”) A procedure, or a set of instructions, is all of those things, … Read More

It’s a Process

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Have you ever noticed how often we follow a process to get something done? Whether it’s tying our shoes or shopping for groceries, the process–that is, the series of steps, or the procedure we use to do it–is the journey that takes us from the start of the task to the end. When I clean the kitchen, for example, the … Read More

Name Changer

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

Ever since the STC started calling us tech writers “technical communicators,” I’ve been pondering the weight of our job titles. I realize the STC made the change to include those of us who do things in the field that are specific and unique, such as usability testing, graphics design, or tutorial publishing. Our field is as broad as any aspect … Read More

Staying Off the Page

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

I listen to NPR…sometimes against my better judgment, sometimes because of it. But I’m glad I listen, because NPR has taught me something important about technical writing. NPR uses a variety of correspondents, not all of them silver-tongued. One man sounds like he’s gargling marbles as he delivers the news. Another correspondent has a lisp. (So do I, actually.) I … Read More

Lists

Karen Field CarrollUncategorizedLeave a Comment

I love lists. Numbered or bulleted, lists lay out ideas in a readable, digestible format. Lists corral unruly thoughts into a parade of hopes, goals, steps, or plans. Lists rock. As a techincal writer, I spend my days grouping data into lists–numbered lists for procedures, bulleted ones for general or nonsequential items. If I know anything about tech writing, it’s … Read More