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Length: 8 min.
Ginny Redish has just written a new book, Letting Go of the Words: Writing Web Content that Works. I had a chance to meet up with Ginny at the STC Summit and interviewed her briefly about her new book. Redish told me, "Every use of your website is a conversation started by the site visitor." Here's an extended description:
People come to web sites for the content -- for the information that answers their questions and lets them complete their tasks. In Letting Go of the Words, Ginny Redish provides easy-to-read guidelines with many full-color examples to help you plan, organize, write, and revise web content so that it is easy to find and easy to use.
You can buy the book here. It really is in full color with a lot of attractive diagrams and illustrations.
I haven't read it yet, but the writing-as-conversation metaphor is appealing. The basic idea, I believe, is to anticipate the reader's questions and then construct your writing as a response. This type of writing focuses you on your audience and gets you thinking about the specific questions, concerns, issues, and other problems your users might have. Each sentence you write should somehow answers those questions -- you construct the conversation. Sounds like a brilliant technique, though I've never fully implemented it.
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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.