by: Julio Vazquez
Dynamic web, taxonomy, folksonomy, collaboration, semantic web, SEO, and many other terms are used in the technical communications community to describe methods to help readers find content on the web.
The technical advances that allow someone to locate information on the Internet have improved greatly over the years. The fear of getting lost in space that was the dread of technical communicators is, for all intents and purposes, a wild nightmare of an older generation. There is no fear of indiscriminate hyperlinks because the professionals follow best practices when creating those topical relationships.
Discussions now center about how to provide the right set of keywords so content for a product or service is listed early in a set of search results. Predictive search has become the latest concern amongst the knowledgeable folks in the business because how someone seeks knowledge may be altered by the algorithms used to create the prediction.
Although I’ve heard one or two people argue otherwise, writing is one of the essential skills for the technical communicator. In fact, you can safely say it’s one of the core skills you need to succeed in this wacky profession. No matter if you’re writing procedures or creating a screencast, you need to be able to write clearly and concisely to be effective.
Our writing can always use some work. I’m not saying that you can’t write. Far from it. In fact, I’m sure there are any number of people reading this post who can write better than I can. But no matter how good you are (or think you are), there’s always room for improvement.
It’s hard to count the number of paths you can take to improve your writing. Most of the ones that people tend to focus on tend to require a lot of effort and concentration. Nothing wrong with that – learning to write well isn’t an easy task.
But there are many other ways in which you can improve your writing. They don’t take a lot of time, aren’t difficult, and can be done just about anywhere and at any time.
Here are three simple and subtle ways in which you can do just that.
- The 5 Ws of creating online help
- Speaking of help, Anne Gentle asks whether or not help pages have to live forever
- Must-know usability tips for Web designers, or anyone else
- A look at some of the best tools for brainstorming content ideas
- A freelancer’s guide to professional development. Good tips for everyone here
And intersections, too.
When I say that, people (mainly in the world of journalism) look at me in disbelief. But it’s true. You’ve probably seen those parallels and intersections yourself without realizing that they were there.
How to I know? I come from the world of journalism, and my professional life lies in those parallels and intersections.