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

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

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  • 1. Light(e)ning Talk Larry KunzSystems Documentation Inc. STC Summit – May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 2. Flabby Content May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 3. Flabby ContentIs harder to keep current.• There’s more content to update.• The content is harder to find. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 4. Flabby ContentCosts more to translate.• More words• More inconsistency May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 5. Flabby ContentForces your reader towork harder.• Jargon• Sesquipedalianism Big words• Convoluted structure• Weak verbs May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 6. Writing forGeorge Jetson May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 7. Writing forGeorge Jetson Activating the red button initiates the process that invokes the Pizza Making feature. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 8. Writing forGeorge Jetson Press the red button to get a pizza. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 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. 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. Tips for a Sensible Diet Eliminate content that no one reads. • Use web analytics. • Lop off the deadwood. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 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. Tips for a Sensible DietEndeavor to eliminatecomposition that isexcessively sesquipedalian,bombastic, or circumlocutory.• Simpler words• Simpler sentence structure May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 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. Healthy ExerciseExercise good judgment! May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 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. Healthy ExerciseUse structured authoring.• Easier to isolate, then eliminate, unnecessary topics• No need for “glue” May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 18. Healthy ExerciseChange inconsistencyinto consistency.• Terminology• Phraseology• Level of detail• Topic structure May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 19. Healthy ExerciseGet feedback:• Usability tests• Customer comments …then adjust accordingly. May 2012 @larry_kunz
  • 20. Stay in Touch! Larry Kunzwww.sdicorp.com/Resources/Blog.aspx lkunz@sdicorp.com Twitter: @larry_kunz May 2012 @larry_kunz