Does size matter for a technical author?

Pity the poor software project manager who needs to ship their product in ten languages, because today they are looking at roughly £1.20 ($2.20) per word* in translation costs alone. If they have a programmer delegated to develop the online Help or user guide, then every unnecessary phrase, sentence or paragraph they write can eat… Read more »

Technical authors, documents and getting lost

Via Twitter, someone responded to one of my messages with the statement, “maybe, if you need a manual, it’s a poor product”. I don’t think that’s the case, and my reply on Twitter was: “A map is to a city, what a manual is to an application.” Let me explain. Imagine you need to visit… Read more »

“The worst Help system I have ever seen”

Sarah Maddox reported from the WritersUA conference that Microsoft’s April Reagan gave a frank presentation on the planning and design that has gone into version 3 of Microsoft Help. She was quoted as saying the feedback on the Help 2 (used in Windows Vista) was poor. For example, “This is the worst help system I have ever seen”.  At a previous… Read more »

Manager’s guide to single sourcing: What’s the problem, why is there a need?

I thought it might be useful to look at a simple question: Why is there a need for single sourcing technical documentation? For people who aren’t technical authors, it’s often unclear why technical authors talk so much about “single sourcing”. Isn’t that just cutting and pasting? What’s the problem? In later posts we’ll look at the… Read more »

Will SEO be replaced by AEO (Answer Engine Optimisation)?

Internet psychologist Graham Jones has just posted an interesting Blog called “Search is on its deathbed…bye, bye SEO“. In it he states: “They (Search Engines) would like us to think that we are constantly “searching” for things online – but we aren’t. We are “locating” stuff we already know about, a lot of the time.”… Read more »