Tag Archives: Tom Johnson

Topic size: Finding the narrative minim

The first question we need to address in seeking a theory of topic-based information design is the perennial “how big is a topic”. Whether we are talking about the reusable blocks that DITA calls topics, or about Every Page is Page One topics that are sized for a reader, the question of size is always the first… Read More »

Are Docs a Responsibility or a Business Asset?

Do we write documentation to fulfill a responsibility, or to create a business asset? Are we striving to meet a set of requirements pronounced by either convention or regulation, or are we striving to increase corporate revenues and contribute to shareholder value? The question is provoked by an interesting discussion with Jonatan Lundin in the… Read More »

Tech Comm’s Place in the Choir

All God’s creatures got a place in the choir Some sing low and some sing higher Bill Staines Traditionally, technical manuals have been written as if they were the only source of information on a product. Of course, the manual was never really the only source. There have always been neighbors, friends, colleagues, retailers, user’s… Read More »

Why documentation analytics may mislead

I was rereading some material in the long-running do-people-read-the-manual debate (such as Tom Johnson’s If No One Reads the Manual, That’s Okay), and it struck me that there is an assumption that people on both sides of this debate are making which deserves some scrutiny. We all assume that technical documentation operates at first hand.… Read More »

Do Structured Writing and Crowdsourcing Mix?

Are structured writing and crowd-sourced content on divergent paths, or can you have both? It’s a pretty hot topic right now. Sarah O’Keefe recently  tweeted: Must push XML and structure out to masses and need better tools for that @boses#lavacon Linda Urban recently tweeted this: Yep! RT @finiteattention: The problems of crowdsourced user assistance: http://xkcd.com/979#ua#techcomm… Read More »