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Check if or check that? Or: Have you tried turning if off and on again?

How often do we read or write that we should check something? Example: "Check if the computer is connected to power." Clear message, no misunderstanding. But what if it says: "Check that the computer is connected to power." more ...

Ten questions for Ines Lasch, intern at parson

Ines Lasch just finished her vocational training as a technical writer and is doing an eight-week internship at parson. We asked her ten questions. more ...

Vocational Training for Technical Communicators. How Does it Work?

Anja Schiel, trainee, and Ulrike Parson, CEO of parson AG, offer their insights into the vocational training for technical communicators. more ...

Make Technical Documentation Intelligent - From Content Management to Content Delivery

In this article, Martin Kreutzer and Ulrike Parson describe how you fill content-delivery portals with intelligent information so that users quickly get the right answers to their questions. more ...

parson's mentoring program

You sent the job application and the interview went well. Now comes your first day at work. Everything is strange: colleagues whose names you immediately forget, business processes, the ERP system. Even the coffee machine doesn't work right away. And where was that meeting room again? more ...

Doctor Strange – Insights into Technical Documentation

What is the connection between a movie based on a comic and technical documentation? You might think there is none. But on Saturday I was delightfully surprised to find that Dr. Strange is an advocator of good documentation. Last Saturday was marvel-lous.

Spoilergefahr

WARNING: DANGER OF SPOILERS!
This blog article may contain spoilers.
Spoilers may ruin your movie experience and potentially result in physical retaliation against the author of this article.

Just a joke. This article will of course not contain any major spoilers, that is, we will not disclose any details that are relevant to the story or ending of the movie. The good guy wins, the bad guy loses, that much is for sure anyway.

I digress. Back to technical documentation. In the movie, there is a secret book in the library that describes some rituals with the potential to shatter the world, including some tempering with time and other dimensions. You know, stuff that sorcerers do on an average day. The hero starts reading and immediately goes into action – without reading the instructions until the end, of course. Just before something really bad is about to happen, he is stopped by his tutors. They warn him about the dangers ahead and ask if he hasn’t read the warnings. Doctor Strange answers that he didn’t get so far and why are the warnings placed at the end anyway? In other words, had the author consulted with a technical writer, the warnings would have been placed where they belong: before the steps that potentially wreak havoc.

Thank you Doctor Strange for the entertaining introduction into well-structured procedures.

On a side note: The villain tempered with the rituals as well and did not read the warnings either. However, who knows how the story would have ended if he had ...

Image source:
Gefahrzeichen © Reeel. Fotolia.com

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