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Document 360: #1 Knowledge Base Software

New section on my site: Simplifying complexity

by Tom Johnson on Jan 24, 2018 •
categories: simplifying-complexity

In an earlier post on value arguments for tech comm, I mentioned that in 2018, I plan to explore some innovative ways to simplify complexity so that I can deepen the value I provide to users. To host this content, I created a new section on my site called "Simplifying Complexity." So far I've added just one topic there on navigation maps. In the topic, I argue that by allowing users to toggle between micro and macro views of a system, often through embedded workflow maps, you can help users better understand and orient themselves in complex systems.

You can read the post here: Switching between macro and micro views with embedded maps.

The micro-macro principle is as follows:

To help users navigate a complex system, provide a way for users to switch between macro and micro views of the system. One of the easiest techniques to enable this view switching is to embed a map (at the top of each relevant topic) that shows the path to achieving a goal.

You can get to this section by clicking the Complexity button on my main navigation bar.

For the earlier post on deepening value by focusing on complexity, see Part VI: Deepening documentation’s value by simplifying complexity.

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About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer based in the California 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.

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