Tag Archives: usability

Evaluating the Usability of Collapsible Sections (or jQuery’s Content Toggle)


After my post on Organizing Page-Level Content, a couple of people asked me about the usability of collapsible sections, also known as content toggles or dropdown hotspots. These are sections that are collapsed upon initial display and then expand when clicked. You can implement collapsible sections in several ways. In Flare, you can insert drop-down Continue Reading »

The Blame Game of RTFM

It may surprise you to find that the wikipedia entry for RTFM is a actually longer than the Wikipedia entry for technical communication. For the uninitiated, RTFM stands for “Read the F____ Manual.” Substitute your favorite adjective there for F. Flipping, frickin, fantastic, fine, friendly, etc. The RTFM response captures the disconnect between technical writers Continue Reading »

Typography for Lawyers

Typography for Lawyers provides the basics of typography and general style in an easy-to-read way that would be perfectly suited not only for lawyers, but for anybody whose writing needs a little cleaning up (for example, you could send it to the project manager who keeps putting two spaces after each period). Definitely a handy Continue Reading »

Being unreadable (Sins of blogging)

The fourth sin in my ongoing Seven Deadly Sins of Blogging series (being fake, irrelevant, boring, unreadable, irresponsible, unfindable, and inattentive) is being unreadable. Readability is probably the easiest sin to correct, especially if you’re familiar with your stylesheet. Reading Instincts A while ago I moved The Content Wrangler to WordPress and used a Massive News theme as Continue Reading »

Discovering Relationship Tables

Lately I’ve been creating context-sensitive help for an online application. As part of my strategy, I’ve been trying to follow Theresa Putkey’s advice in “Usability in Context-Sensitive Help.” In her article, Theresa recommends providing more than just the steps for a specific task in the context-sensitive help window. Instead, she says to show more contextual Continue Reading »

What Users Don’t Care About

It seems most of the conversations in our industry today revolve around value. If you go to stc.org, the large graphic at the center of the site says “The Value of Technical Communication.” (Given the recent events in the STC, to me the graphic really reads, “The value of the STC organization.”) At any rate, Continue Reading »