Newsletter of the Society for Technical Communication, San Francisco Chapter
I'm sure that we all love spring, the warm weather, and the new growth that comes with April, but it also brings up the challenge of doing our taxes. I don't mind paying what I legitimately owe so much as I dislike the sometimes mind-numbing fill-in-the-blank and recalculate-this-number-again mentality combined with obscure instructions that comes with following the steps with the forms provided for the federal and state taxes. My brother, the CPA, expects to hear at least one "How do I. . . ?" phone call during tax season. A big helping of chocolate cheesecake can help sooth my nerves, but doesn't help my waistline.
My hat is off to the thoughtful person who came up with the idea of consumer software for ordinary taxpayers. The team who developed the software--and improved it over the years--obviously includes a great group of technical communicators. From the installation instructions (such as "and follow the instructions on the screen") to the easy-to-understand questions and hints about entering data ("for example: '123 shares of XYZ company'") and cross-checks that make sure that every I is dotted and every T is crossed in order to keep our eyes from crossing while drinking Tension Tamer tea.
So Thank You! to the great group of technical communicators, whether you worked on help, the UI, or the few print materials that come with the CD. You did a great job with a difficult topic. Thanks, also, for reminding all of us that we can take the very difficult and make it make sense to ordinary people. Happy April!
I'm looking forward to seeing you soon at a meeting.
Marie McElravy, Editor