Write for people who actually read documentation

One of the biggest mistakes we make in technical communication is trying to write for every user.

Sacrilege, I know, but hear me out. Many users don’t read documentation. They don’t not read documentation because the documentation is bad, or not written for their level, or uses big words. The don’t read documentation because they are the kind of people who don’t read documentation. It is a fixed part of their character and their outlook on life, and nothing you can do with the documentation will change it. read more

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?

Tom Johnson’s latest blog post, Single Sourcing and Redundancy, ask the important question of what to deliver to each media. Do you deliver different content to paper, help, and Web, or do you deliver the same content in each media? read more