Does your help content need a makeover?

makeover_beforeYou know what it’s like when you’re pregnant—you suddenly notice pregnant women everywhere.

After I wrote my last post about reader-engagement (tabloid style) people seemed to be muttering about ‘readability’ wherever I went.

Over coffee, Judy told me about her postgrad students who struggle with their writing. They have trouble getting to the point. She encourages them to reveal their findings up front and points out that a thesis is not a whodunnit. Good advice for a tech writer too.

Later, my friend Lil described the reports she writes for her parliamentary committee. She wants to reduce the reader’s cognitive load and is experimenting with ways to make sure the important stuff gets read. Yes.

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5 ways to harness the list obsession

I just got an email from the Oxfam shop. 5 tips for a happier Christmas. They may be selling fair trade goats, but they understand the power of a numbered list.

These lists are everywhere.

6 ways to better blogging.

Top 5 inspirational songs for joggers.

Ten ways to find more ways.

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Take an ethnographic approach to content design

Sometimes my worlds collide and I try to surf the seismic wave.

World A: Technical Writing

I’m part of technical communication team that agonizes over the usual stuff. Should we be using DITA to create reusable content? What’s the best way to localize our material for an international audience? How do we keep our videos up to date? How do we encourage our expert community to help each other? And, the m-dash—is it possible to overuse it?

Then there’s the big umbrella question. How do we design relevant, accurate, engaging content that both informs and delights our users?

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