Tag Archives | topics

Successful Patterns are the Best Guide to Information Design

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Topic Patterns

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Topic PatternsI am very grateful to Jonatan Lundin for a lengthy conversation on the subject of topic patterns because it helped me to crystalize something important about the basis for the principles of EPPO information design and how they are derived. Approaches based on psychology […]

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Short: good policy, bad metric

We seem to agonize endlessly over how long content should be. Metrics are regularly proposed for the perfect length of a blog post or content marketing piece, and the move towards topic-based writing has tech writers worrying about similar issues. Keeping content short is certainly good policy. No one wants to read more than they have […]

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Findability is a Content Problem, not a Search Problem

Findability is a constant theme in content strategy and technical communications, yet it  seems to me that people often treat findability as a problem existing outside the content. Findability is addressed using SEO tactics and by devising sophisticated top-down navigational aids, such as taxonomies and faceted navigation, but it is seldom seen as issue to […]

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Linear vs web organization of content.

What is your primary media? Paper or the Web?

Which media is your principal design target? Most tech pubs organizations deliver to multiple media, but which one do they design for? Judging by the content I see every day, most organizations are still designing for paper even when they mostly deliver to the Web. If you are delivering primarily to the Web, shouldn’t you be designing primarily for the Web? […]

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Mercator projection

Flat Earth Tech Comm

Working with my current client has really reinforced for me how much traditional documentation methods involve flattening reality. The client is dealing with a large body of troubleshooting information, in which there are complex relationships between issues the user experiences, the symptoms that help narrow down the issue, the configurations under which symptoms can occur, and the […]

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Woman eating pizza

Confusing Analytic and Synthetic Truths in Defining Topic Types

Ray Gallon’s recent post, Let’s Break a Tech Comm Rule proposes that we should rethink the idea of separating tasks from concepts. Hooray! It’s no secret that I’m no fan of this separation. Reading Ray’s post, also sparks this thought. It is a common and sometimes catastrophic error to confuse an analytic truth with a synthetic truth. That […]

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