Slides from STC Webinar on Organizing Content (Findability)

Here are my slides from the STC webinar I presented on organizing content (findability). The official title of the webinar was “Organizing Content: Breaking Out of Topic-Based Hierarchies.”  I added detailed notes for each slide. This should make the presentation understandable even without the audio recording. You can download the presentation in two formats:

Organizing Content / Findability Webinar

Feb 19, 2012 update:You can listen to the recording of this webinar here.

Madcap FlareAdobe Robohelp

By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for the 41st Parameter in San Jose, California. I'm interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication, API documentation, information architecture, web publishing, JavaScript, front-end design, content strategy, Jekyll, and more. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

  • Debra Bell

    Does this mean you will not be providing the pod cast?

    • Tom Johnson

      I will still do the podcast. Probably next week.

  • Gina Wadley


    Thanks so much for posting this as I was unable to attend. I really appreciate all of the notes you included in the slides.


  • Mary Elise Dedicke

    Thank you so much!

  • Jonovitch

    Tom, my favorite part about the presentation/pdf is that you used the Notes Page view to create it! If nothing else, thank you for that! I’m going to use this as a “good example” for my “How to fix your presentations” brown-bag session at work.

  • Tammy Paul

    Very interesting presentation. A response to a criticsm you have of videos: you mentioned that they are expensive, almost impossible to translate, and beyond the skills of tech writers, but if you use a soundless video with captions, those criticisms don’t necessarily apply. Using a tool like Adobe Captivate (or Camtasia), you can create a video that uses captions instead of sound, which is less expensive, leads to a smaller file size, can have captions translated and modified for each language, and can easily be created by someone familiar with similar tools. (I found PowerPoint knowledge helped when I tried out Captivate.) In some scenarios, users may prefer tutorials without sound anyway because they don’t want to disturb others, and they don’t need to have their sound turned up or headphones. Just something to think about.

    • Tom Johnson

      Good point, Tammy. Soundless videos with captions would probably be a good model for translating videos, but remember you still have to deal with the translated interface. Still, it would probably be easier than working with audio voiceover.

  • Pam Noreault

    Thanks Tom for presenting this information. Most of what you talked about I truly believe in. My biggest frustration to this point is that there’s always an issue of time and how to balance addressing findability with the time available. I know how important SEO is and if you can leverage that somehow, it helps greatly. For content that is contained or available in a product, this isn’t always possible unless the help system is running from a hosted Internet site or has access to the Internet which is becoming the norm. Thanks much for all the notes.

    • Tom Johnson

      Thanks, Pam. Re time, yes, I completely agree. I can’t say that I live up to everything I know I should do. Re SEO, you can search engine optimize content for a locally-based system. You just have to understand the search algorithm of what you’re publishing to.

  • VS


    Would you consider uploading your presentations to slideshare?


    • Tom Johnson

      I put my slides for this presentation, as well as the recording, here.