Who writes the words? A rant with graphs.

If you read my rant, you’ll know that I’m getting a bit of a bee in my bonnet about user interface text. But rather than just yelling about the way the world should be (short version: no UI text would suck), it seemed prudent to actually gather some data. Rachel Potts has made an excellent … Read more

Pandas: below "C-level", and drowning

Last week, at the Technical Communication UK conference, I did a little lightning talk. It wasn’t very nice. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that the session was billed as “rants” – an opportunity for people to get things off their chests. Boy, did I. In fact, my first line was more or less: “You’re sleepwalking … Read more

Content auditing – let’s fix it

Recently, I got an email about content inventories. This is not habitually a joyous occasion. Anybody who’s had to compile one – and that’s anybody who’s serious about the web – will attest that it’s a miserable experience. Making a content inventory is in that “necessary but horrible” category; it’s like talking to that doting … Read more

Must-see sessions at TCUK11

Technical Communication UK is probably the best professional conference I’ve been to. Last year, I spoke there on content strategy, and this year I’ll be co-hosting a workshop on embedded user assistance. Obviously, I’d love people to come along to that; but there are some other sessions I’d like to flag up for anybody thinking … Read more

Tron: Legacy, 3D goggles, and embedded UA

The 3D edition of Tron: Legacy opens with embedded user assistance. The film starts with an iconic white-on-black command-prompt message exhorting viewers to keep their 3D glasses on throughout. I can’t quote it verbatim, and at the time of writing nor could anybody findable with 5 minutes of googling. But it was something like: “Although … Read more

Keep taking the tablets

A guest editorial for the SimpleTalk newsletter. So why would Red Gate build an Ipad Game? Is it just because tablet devices are exciting and cool? Ok, maybe a little. Mostly, it was seeing that the best existing tablet and smartphone apps do simple, intuitive things, using simple intuitive interfaces to solve single problems. That’s … Read more

Stop using Paper.li

Or at least find a way to use it right. Last week, a blog I read went off on a bit of a rant about Instagram. The post seems to be suffering from a little data vs information befuddlement, and a slight miss-location of the value of photographs. But its perspective is one that had … Read more

UA Europe 2010: whistle-stop account

Last week (16th -17th Sept) saw the UA Europe conference in Stockholm (a lovely city, by the way). I was speaking, but since this is one of my few blog posts that isn’t self-aggrandizing codswallop, I’ll gloss over that. It was well-enough received, despite some localization issues around a largely European audience, and my rather … Read more

Your docs are wrong. Maybe.

Last week, over on a blog called Flyosity, there was a post: Your design is wrong I liked it, I liked it a lot. Although many of the errors it cites may seem like rather small things, I absolutely buy the idea of objective design mistakes. It got me thinking about examples from the world … Read more

Must-see sessions at TCUK

Technical Communication UK 2010 (#TCUK10 and @TCUK_conf for twitter folks) is, unsurprisingly, a large conference about tech comms. It’s hosted by the ISTC, and last year is was diverse, informative, and generally moderately awesome. This year is shaping up to be no different. If you’re at all interested in tech comms, info design, content strategy, … Read more

What was missing from the Content Strategy Forum?

In April, Paris hosted the first ever Content Strategy Forum. The event’s website proudly proclaims: 170 attendees, 18 nationalities, 17 speakers, 1 volcano… Content Strategy Forum 2010 rocked the world! The volcano was in Iceland, and the closest we came to rocking the world was a cursory mention in the Huffington Post, but I’ll grant … Read more