The joy of technical writing, and of web design, is discovery, exploration, and mastery.
There are few businesses where one is always learning, not just how to do the basic work, but also about how the client’s businesses and their products actually work.
From nitty-gritty technical details (how does video get converted to an image on an array of LEDs?) but also, how does the client reach their customers? How do they brand their product? How do they get it out the door?
Technical writing is about translating the engineering details to the reader’s learning style, and delivering the critical ‘how-to’ information in a way that anchors to their pre-existing basis of understanding.
That’s relatively easy compared to modern website design, which is about translating the business details to the reader’s learning style and delivering the critical ‘why buy’ information in a way that anchors to their pre-existing basis of understanding, as well as their desires — All while executing the high-wire act of making it look good across a half-dozen browsers, and making it interact and flow in a predictable and pleasing manner… and considering how search engines will interpret the code, how the programming code works at a technical level, how the server works, and finally, how it should interact with several social networking sites, email systems, and lately, smart phones.
Regardless of whether the end result is a user manual, created in InDesign, delivered as a PDF, which will be printed and bound a thousand miles away and delivered with the product… or a web site, where the domain is pointed and suddenly the world can see your work… there’s that joy of creation.
Of finally pulling it all together into a coherent message. Mastering complexity.
But, I’ll hire someone to do my taxes. You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.