Tag Archives: quick reference guides

Webinar Recording: Designing Quick Reference Guides

A couple of weeks ago I gave an STC webinar called Designing Quick Reference Guides. This was a general STC webinar, and usually I am not allowed to repost the recording, but due to some audio difficulties, I had to re-record it, and the STC gave me permission to post the re-recording. Here are the Continue Reading »

Upcoming Webinar: Designing Quick Reference Guides

I’m giving an STC webinar this week on designing quick reference guides. Here are the details: Designing Quick Reference Guides Date: Wednesday, 25 January | 1:00–2:00 PM EST (GMT-5) Condensing a manual into an attractive quick reference guide requires a poet’s precision with language, but it also requires you to exercise skill with visual design Continue Reading »

Visually Appealing Documents Combine Text with Images

A few years ago, I was scouring magazines to get ideas for quick reference guide layouts. In particular, I found that WIRED magazine has some of the most creative and engaging layouts, often with text laid out in three or four columns, or along the side of a graphic, or in various quadrants about the Continue Reading »

Making Help Content Enjoyable to Read — Impossible Quest?

In my previous post (“Less Text, Please”), I argued that users want shorter texts. I also explained how social media and Internet sites have possibly rewired our brains to incline us toward shorter content — according to some, our gnat-like attention spans can only consume a few short paragraphs before tapping out. The Onion has Continue Reading »

Findability and The Information Paradox

Last year I started a series on organizing content that spanned nearly 30 posts. I want to return to this thread with a summary of why findability becomes an issue for technical writers, and what the information paradox is that we encounter. Then, in an usual ethical twist, I’ll explain why findability might not actually Continue Reading »

Simplicity in a 550 page manual?

One of my readers, Shweta, asks the following question: I am a Technical Communicator working in a software services company in India. I have been reading your posts daily from a long time now. I am developing end-user documentation for an access control product. The current application that I have is huge and so is Continue Reading »

The Case of the Stolen Documentation

Some months ago I created a half a dozen quick reference guides for an application that would have a potential audience of thousands of users (after it cleared the beta phase). The size of the audience gave me hope that I would actually create documentation to be used by more than a handful of people Continue Reading »