Content and documents written for users should be like a good fitting shirt – comfortable enough to enable the wearer to function in the most effective way possible.
Basic shirts are offered in only small, medium, large and extra large options. The collars can be too tight, the sleeves too long, and the body rarely flatters the wearer. At the end of the day, the wearer can end up itchy and tired.
At the other extreme, bespoke shirts from London’s Jermyn Street are handmade to your exact body shape and size – but a price.
In between those two choices, you can buy “Made to Measure” shirts.
Fit is everything
In gentlemen’s shirtings, fit is everything, and the same thing is true for content. Companies such as Charles Tyrwhitt and TM Lewin offer Made to Measure shirts where you can specify the collar size, the length of the arms, the slimness of the fit, the length of the collar, shirt pocket options, the type of cuff, and type of fabric (like iron or non-iron cotton). Marks and Spencer take it further, modifying the shirts to take account of your weight and age. You get something that’s a much better fit to the user, and it costs only a little more than a basic (S, M, L, XL) shirt.
Made to Measure content
Shirt companies are able to offer a wide variety of choice at an affordable price because they use standard modular components that can be interchanged for each customer. You can take the same approach to your documentation as well – delivering content that’s the best fit for different skill levels, use cases, locations, reading devices, configurations, and so on.
By taking a modular, Made to Measure approach to writing your content, your content can be more like Cary Grant and less like Jeremy Clarkson.