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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There are no Prerequisites

There are few worse ideas in technical communication than the idea that procedures have prerequisites. There are no prerequisites. There are only steps. To illustrate: Last weekend I paid a visit to some family members who were camping at a nearby campground. They were struggling to inflate the new air mattress they had bought. The mattress […]

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Pilot reading checklist.

Docs that are Part of Larger Systems

It is easy to think of documentation as simply the reader’s companion, which they use when they need help with a product or service. But a lot of documentation is more than this, it is part of an industrial or institutional system. Designing and writing documentation to be part of such a system can be […]

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