Subject First; Context Afterward

In communication, they say, context is everything. Actually, “everything” consists of context and subject. Useful information is subject in context. The question is, which comes first: context or subject? In the book era, the content search pattern was: context first, subject afterwards. That is, suppose you deliver three different products and have released three different versions of […]

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Any technology you use should be “Googlable”

‘Any technology you use should be “Googlable”‘. These are the words of Bill Scott,  VP Engineering, Merchant | Retail | Online Payments at PayPal, as reported by the amazing Sarah Maddox. (I say amazing because Sarah manages to lucidly and intelligently blog just about every conference session she attends. Having just helped cover the LavaCon conference, and […]

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In Praise of Short Term Thinking

I was in Portland  for LavaCon last week, and one night I had dinner with a bunch of content strategy types. As we do, we spent some of the conversation bemoaning the short term thinking that many people and organizations have about content. One of the first sessions I attended, however, was Edwina Lui’s A Goldilocks Approach […]

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The Interface is Technical Communication

During my recent Webinar with MadCap (recording here), I said something in response to a question that the twitterverse took to: "It's not documentation's job to repeat what the UI is saying. The UI is techcomm." Preach, @mbakeranalecta! #techcomm — Karen Mulholland (@kemulholland) August 27, 2014 After Karen tweeted it, it bounced around for quite […]

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Reuse is a good tactic but a poor strategy

I’m hearing people talk more and more about developing a reuse strategy. This is troubling. Reuse is a tactic at best. It is not a strategy. At least, it is not a good strategy. Content strategy has an acronym COPE: Create Once, Publish Everywhere. But COPE can mean something a little different from tech comm’s […]

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Reference Distance Zero: Beyond Linear Information Design

Summary: Designing information for paper was largely about managing reference distance. On the Web, the reference distance is zero. A completely different set of design requirements apply.   Linear information design Traditional information design thinking has always been linear. This is a consequence of the medium in which the vast majority of information was presented: […]

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