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Hiding Complexity -- A new Simplifying Complexity article

by Tom Johnson on Jun 12, 2018
categories: simplifying-complexity

I added another article in my Simplifying Complexity series. This one is called Hiding complexity through JavaScript show/hide elements. The basic principle is to look for ways to reduce complexity by hiding less-used information on the screen through JavaScript techniques, such as show/hide elements, expand/collapse toggles, and more.

Here’s how the article begins:

While troubleshooting a recent support case, I looked over documentation I’d written nearly a year ago, trying to identify where the user got stuck. I was shocked at how confusing the docs now seemed. The documentation tried to explain query syntax for targeting elements in a media feed that could be either JSON or XML. If the feed was JSON, developers would use one type of query syntax; if the feed was XML, they would use another. The documentation discussed the two approaches in sections one right after another.

This scenario is common in developer docs because you often have multiple languages to account for. You might have a process for calling an API that you need to explain using PHP, Java, .NET, or other languages and frameworks. The general approach might typically be the same, but the code samples and specific technical details will differ….

Read the rest: Hiding complexity through JavaScript show/hide elements

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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