Date: Wed, 03 May
95 15:55:04 pst
From: Kim Bullman
To: Helen Casabona
Subject: STC Conference
I attended your session, Documenting Entertainment and Graphical Software, at the STC conference in Washington D.C., and I must say, "Thank you!" I not only enjoyed the session, but I left it with a renewed enthusiasm for my profession. What more could I ask for from a presentation?
Many of the points that you talked about were close to my heart. I've been an advocate for using contractions in technical documentation for some time. I don't quite understand the resistance I've faced, but it hasn't slowed me down. Also, fitting topics onto one- or two-page spreads is a technique that I've used very successfully in the past. It's not always easy to do, but when it can be done, it really makes for usable documentation.
I don't agree with all of your suggestions, but that's OK. Call me crazy, but I can't quite bring myself to end a sentence with a preposition. Also, writing like you speak is a good way to make the information in a document seem accessible, but being too chatty can sometimes turn off a reader. I find I need to be real careful when trying to write in a friendly tone.
Anyway, I found a note from your session that you had some additional information about your style guide available. It seems too good to be true, but if it is, I'd love to have a copy. If you do have more information available, please let me know how I can get it.
Again, thank you for your presentation. I wish all of the sessions that I attended were as enjoyable. Perhaps you would consider giving a presentation again next year. Please think about it.
Tue, 09 May 95 12:02:17 EST
From: Rainy Horvath
To: Helen Casabona
Subject: EEEEEEKKK! What Now?
I attended your presentation "From Good to Great" at the STC Conference last month and you gave me one of your Style Guides.
I wanted to let you know that I liked your ideas so much I took a risk and made a big presentation to my management to change how we do our doc--using your ideas. I didn't think I had a snowball's chance in Hades of getting agreement, but guess what? They loved it! I got the go ahead.
Now I have to actually make it happen! We may need to buy a few more Style Guides for the other players involved--will that be possible? Thanks so much for your inspiration.
Date: 15 Nov 95 14:18:21 EST
From: Doug Rieb
To: Helen Casabona
Subject: STC Presentation
Dear Ms. Casabona:
I recently purchased the proceedings for this year's STC. As usual, I found a number of useful articles, but your contribution, "From Good to Great: The Finer Points of Writing User Documentation," was far and away the most exciting.
I too am under pressure to make our company's documents both smaller and more usable. Your piece reinforced my hunch that these goals are complementary rather than conflicting. It also made it clear that the process of reaching these goals is one of designing new manuals rather than simply culling the unnecessary from existing ones.
I've already begun to implement some of the principles and techniques you mention in your Proceedings article, but I want more! Did you have additional materials that you distributed to those attending your presentation? Or even better, is by chance the NeXT Writer's Handbook for Style and Design available to someone outside of your company?
If you can help me, great! If not, I'm glad to have the opportunity to let you and your group know that the audience for your STC presentation continues to grow. I just wish I had been able to attend the real thing.
Date: Tue, 2 May 95 15:32:19 -0700
Subject: RE: Your slide show
Just want to let you know that out of curiosity (ok I was bored) I ran the presentation you left on the laptop computer you borrowed from me for your STC presentation, and I thought it was a great slide show! I actually learned something about writing user manuals and tech documentation in general from it. I volunteer at the S.F. Exploratorium from time to time when they have internet exhibits, where I explain to parents and children what the internet is and is not, etc. I will keep in mind the motto: "Tell them what they can do with it, not just what it does." I think that's a good point to remember!
Happy New Year, Helen:
Thought you'd like to know...I just found out that my OnPoint software manual re-design won the Merit award in the NY Metro chapter STC 1995/96 competition!
Thanks for the great presentation, the help and support, and the "tool" in the form of your great NEXT Style guide. I'd never have been able to redesign a whole line of manuals without it.
Wishing you all the best in 1996, hope I'll see you at the STC Show in Seattle (if I can bum an airline ticket...).