Job Interview Question about Writing for Neurodiversity

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WonderWoman
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25 Jul 2017, 5:17 pm

Hi, I just had a job interview for a technical writing position for software. They asked me, "How would write to accommodate neurodiversity." I was so happy that they asked the question, but I wasn't sure how to answer. How about, "Make it make sense to me." (Then that would leave out the neurotypicals.) What I actually answered is to, "Write in a minimalism style, according to Strunk and White." (Minimalism is a style of writing that attempts to say what's needed, no more and no less, and Strunk and White wrote a book on using plain, straightforward language.) I also pointed out that technical writers should avoid metaphors that could be confusing.
I looked it up after the interview and found they could also be talking about people with dyslexia and dyscalculia (math issues). I would think that headings and tables would help. What else?
Anyone have any tips on what a good answer would be for how a technical writer should write to make their writing accessible to a neurodiverse population?
For starts, I'm excited that this came up in a job interview!


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WonderWoman


SubtleCow
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26 Jul 2017, 1:20 am

Everything you've said sounds great for me! I do have one more to add, but I don't have the technical writing chops to properly describe it.

Sometimes I read something and so much is said so quickly I feel overwhelmed. I worry minamalism might potentially contribute to this, but I haven't read Strunk and White so I don't know what their position is on how to minimally cover really complex topics.

I also have dyscalculia and writing out numbers would be the best for me (ex. One plus one equals two). My real issue is with doing basic math in my head (spoiler I can't), but I don't know enough to know how that would work into technical writing.



Chronos
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11 Aug 2017, 2:30 am

WonderWoman wrote:
Hi, I just had a job interview for a technical writing position for software. They asked me, "How would write to accommodate neurodiversity." I was so happy that they asked the question, but I wasn't sure how to answer. How about, "Make it make sense to me." (Then that would leave out the neurotypicals.) What I actually answered is to, "Write in a minimalism style, according to Strunk and White." (Minimalism is a style of writing that attempts to say what's needed, no more and no less, and Strunk and White wrote a book on using plain, straightforward language.) I also pointed out that technical writers should avoid metaphors that could be confusing.
I looked it up after the interview and found they could also be talking about people with dyslexia and dyscalculia (math issues). I would think that headings and tables would help. What else?
Anyone have any tips on what a good answer would be for how a technical writer should write to make their writing accessible to a neurodiverse population?
For starts, I'm excited that this came up in a job interview!


The question doesn't make sense to me so I would ask them how would they rephrase that to accommodate neurodiversity.