MindTouch Webinar — Organizing Help Content: The Problem of Findability
I gave a MindTouch webinar on Friday, June 10, called Organizing Help Content: The Problem of Findability. The webinar was a joint-discussion with Scott Abel, the Content Wrangler. Here's the webinar description:
Help systems often have hundreds of topics. Arranging this information into a logical order so that users can find the exact topic they're looking for poses major challenges for technical writers. We often default to the print paradigm and produce a table of contents, arranging the content in hierarchical folders by topic. The problem, however, is that topics frequently overlap. The logic for organizing the information isn't always clear. As a result, users often give up on browsing and resort to search as a means of finding information. But unless they know the right terms to search for, search results can be fruitless.
One solution is to break out of the print paradigm and provide multiple methods of organization for the user. By adding metadata to each topic, the content can pushed and pulled it in different ways. Arrangements of content by popularity, role, problem, location, story, format, or other facets can provide readers with alternative ways to find what they're looking for. These arrangements are becoming more popular on the web for non-help content. It's only a matter of time before help systems follow similar patterns.
Join Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, for a conversation with technical communication expert Tom Johnson. The two industry veterans will discuss problems that impede content findability and suggest strategies for helping attendees improve their technical support sites by making their content easily discoverable.
You can view a transcript of the Q&A here.
Note: There seems to be an issue with the embedded video below.
You can view the recorded webinar below and the follow-up Q&A here.
You can see other webinars from MindTouch here.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the San Francisco Bay area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.