Light(e)ning    Talk       Larry KunzSystems Documentation Inc. STC Summit – May 2012      @larry_kunz
Flabby Content                  May 2012                 @larry_kunz
Flabby ContentIs harder to keep current.• There’s more content to update.• The content is harder to find.                 ...
Flabby ContentCosts more to translate.• More words• More inconsistency                            May 2012                ...
Flabby ContentForces your reader towork harder.• Jargon• Sesquipedalianism Big words• Convoluted structure• Weak verbs    ...
Writing forGeorge Jetson                 May 2012                @larry_kunz
Writing forGeorge Jetson     Activating the red button     initiates the process that     invokes the Pizza Making     fea...
Writing forGeorge Jetson     Press the red button to     get a pizza.                       May 2012                      ...
Lightening Your Content How can you trim your flabby content? (You already know the answer) • A sensible diet • Healthy ex...
Tips for a Sensible Diet   Make time to write less.I made this very long, because I did nothave the leisure to make it sho...
Tips for a Sensible Diet          Eliminate content          that no one reads.          • Use web analytics.          • L...
Tips for a Sensible DietEliminate transitionalor “glue” material:• In the next chapter we will see…• The following section...
Tips for a Sensible DietEndeavor to eliminatecomposition that isexcessively sesquipedalian,bombastic, or circumlocutory.• ...
Tips for a Sensible Diet• Active voice• Strong, concrete verbs• Controlled vocabulary                a number of = some   ...
Healthy ExerciseExercise good judgment!                           May 2012                          @larry_kunz
Healthy ExerciseRemember your audience!• Not what the SMEs want it to say  (how it works)• But what your audience needs  (...
Healthy ExerciseUse structured authoring.• Easier to isolate, then  eliminate, unnecessary topics• No need for “glue”     ...
Healthy ExerciseChange inconsistencyinto consistency.•   Terminology•   Phraseology•   Level of detail•   Topic structure ...
Healthy ExerciseGet feedback:• Usability tests• Customer comments …then adjust accordingly.                              M...
Stay in Touch!             Larry Kunzwww.sdicorp.com/Resources/Blog.aspx                     lkunz@sdicorp.com            ...
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Lightening your Content

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Light(e)ning talk from STC Summit 2012: Taking the flab out of your content

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Lightening your Content

  1. 1. Light(e)ning Talk Larry KunzSystems Documentation Inc. STC Summit – May 2012 @larry_kunz
  2. 2. Flabby Content May 2012 @larry_kunz
  3. 3. Flabby ContentIs harder to keep current.• There’s more content to update.• The content is harder to find. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  4. 4. Flabby ContentCosts more to translate.• More words• More inconsistency May 2012 @larry_kunz
  5. 5. Flabby ContentForces your reader towork harder.• Jargon• Sesquipedalianism Big words• Convoluted structure• Weak verbs May 2012 @larry_kunz
  6. 6. Writing forGeorge Jetson May 2012 @larry_kunz
  7. 7. Writing forGeorge Jetson Activating the red button initiates the process that invokes the Pizza Making feature. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  8. 8. Writing forGeorge Jetson Press the red button to get a pizza. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  9. 9. Lightening Your Content How can you trim your flabby content? (You already know the answer) • A sensible diet • Healthy exercise May 2012 @larry_kunz
  10. 10. Tips for a Sensible Diet Make time to write less.I made this very long, because I did nothave the leisure to make it shorter. May 2012 - Blaise Pascal @larry_kunz
  11. 11. Tips for a Sensible Diet Eliminate content that no one reads. • Use web analytics. • Lop off the deadwood. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  12. 12. Tips for a Sensible DietEliminate transitionalor “glue” material:• In the next chapter we will see…• The following sections will tell you…• As you read previously… May 2012 @larry_kunz
  13. 13. Tips for a Sensible DietEndeavor to eliminatecomposition that isexcessively sesquipedalian,bombastic, or circumlocutory.• Simpler words• Simpler sentence structure May 2012 @larry_kunz
  14. 14. Tips for a Sensible Diet• Active voice• Strong, concrete verbs• Controlled vocabulary a number of = some a majority of = most due to the fact that = because take into consideration = consider Thanks to Gurpreet Singh technicalwritingtoolbox.com 17Apr2012 May 2012 @larry_kunz
  15. 15. Healthy ExerciseExercise good judgment! May 2012 @larry_kunz
  16. 16. Healthy ExerciseRemember your audience!• Not what the SMEs want it to say (how it works)• But what your audience needs (how to use it) May 2012 @larry_kunz
  17. 17. Healthy ExerciseUse structured authoring.• Easier to isolate, then eliminate, unnecessary topics• No need for “glue” May 2012 @larry_kunz
  18. 18. Healthy ExerciseChange inconsistencyinto consistency.• Terminology• Phraseology• Level of detail• Topic structure May 2012 @larry_kunz
  19. 19. Healthy ExerciseGet feedback:• Usability tests• Customer comments …then adjust accordingly. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  20. 20. Stay in Touch! Larry Kunzwww.sdicorp.com/Resources/Blog.aspx lkunz@sdicorp.com Twitter: @larry_kunz May 2012 @larry_kunz

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