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Adobe Trends webinar

Podcast: Make Your Help Indispensable, Safeguard Your Job

Jan 31, 2009 • podcasts

Download MP3 (to download, right-click and select Save Target As)
Length: 30 min.

In this podcast, I talk with Mike Hughes, second vice president of the STC, about his latest UXMatters article, "Straight Talk: Surviving Tough Times as a User Assistance Writer." We talk about how to make help more valuable, more worthwhile and user-focused, so you don't lose your job when companies begin laying off employees based on lack of value.

Here are a few other topics we cover in this podcast:

  • Where help must appear to be used, and how to pitch it to the user
  • Why documenting everything is sometimes the worst thing you can do
  • What it means to make your help "a mile wide and thirty seconds deep"
  • How identifying points of pain and information gaps can help you avoid writing obvious instructions
  • Why tools and technologies can distract you from the content

About Mike Hughes

Mike is a seasoned technical communicator with 20 plus years of experience. He currently works for IBM Internet Security Systems as a user assistance architect. He holds a PhD in Instructional Technology from the University of Georgia and a Masters in Technical and Professional Communication from Southern Polytechnic State University. Mike also contributes regular columns to UX Matters and writes a blog at http://user-assistance.blogspot.com.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical communication — Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, academics, and more. I'm interested in , API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, and more. If you're a technical writer of any kind (progressional, transitioning, student), 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.