We Are None of Us Publishers Anymore

“We are all publishers now” — It is one of the defining tropes of content strategy, spoken, in one form or another, by many of the pioneers of the field. So if when say, “We Are None of Us Publishers Anymore,” am I just being even more contrarian than usual?

Sometimes a corrective is needed to stay out of the ditch.

Sometimes a corrective is needed to stay out of the ditch.

Not really. Phrases like these are more about course correction than they are about defining the center line of a field. If you are heading into the ditch on the left side of the road, you need to make a turn to the right. But if you keep turning right, you will end up in the ditch on the right hand side of the road. read more

The Difference Between Novices and Casual Users

It struck me recently that we pay far too little attention to the difference between novices and casual users. A novice is someone who has just embarked upon a course of study and whose intent is to become a master of that subject. A casual user is someone who just wants to get a job done and has no interest in mastery. Their information needs are very different.

The Design Implications of Tool Choices

Every documentation tool has a built in information design bias. When you choose a tool, be it FrameMaker, DITA, AuthorIt, a WIKI, or SPFE, you are implicitly choosing an approach to information design. If you don’t understand and accept the design implications of your tool choice, as many people do not, you are setting yourself up for expense, frustration, and disappointment.

I am a Content Strategist

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post asking Am I a Content Strategist? In response, Sarah O’Keefe tweeted “If you’re not, then nobody is.” — which is good enough for me. The question wasn’t really about me, of course. It was a question about the nature of content strategy. Was content strategy a field (in which people may differ about both values and methods) or was it (as it sometimes seems) a philosophy, a particular vision of content development and delivery that excluded other values and approaches. Is content strategy a big tent under which my not-always-mainstream views can find a home? read more