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Adobe FrameMaker

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. Topics I write about on this blog include the following technical communication topics: Swagger, agile, trends, learning, plain language, quick reference guides, tech comm careers, and certificate programs. I'm interested in information design, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture and findability, 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.