I just posted a podcast with Thom Haller on Tech Writer Voices. It's an interesting podcast, with the central focus on organizing your site's information around tasks the users want to perform. We write help documentation the same way of course, but I hadn't really thought of applying the same principles to a website's information.
I haven't yet applied the GECKO principle Thom talks about to my blog or podcast, but I plan to. With Tech Writer Voices, I have made subscribing to the podcast the main task I want the user to perform, and have included easy links for the user to click and listen to information. Perhaps I can include more instruction on how to actually move the MP3 files to various MP3 players, and how to subscribe with RSS readers.
It's surprising to me that despite all the focus on user analysis, user-centered design, and user feedback, I don't really have a standard method for going about it. That's why I like Thom's GECKO principle (Gather, Evaluation, Chunk, Know, Optimize). It takes a concept that we know we should do and puts it into an easy framework to follow.
To get started more with collecting user tasks, I ask you, reader, what tasks or things you're looking to do on this blog or on Tech Writer Voices?
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I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. Topics I write about on this blog include technical writing, authoring and publishing tools, API documentation, tech comm trends, visual communication, technical writing career advice, information architecture and findability, developer documentation, and more. If you're a professional or aspiring technical writer, be sure to subscribe to email updates using the form above. You can learn more about me here. You can also contact me with questions.