Tech Writer This Week for May 16, 2013

Editor’s Note: For readers who want to enjoy Tech Writer This Week for May 16 via RSS without all the formatting issues, we’ve made it a bit easier by posting the introductory content here, and a link to the Storify curated content.

Tech Writer This Week for May 16, 2013

In my job as a technical writer, one of the decisions I wrestle with every day concerns topic length. Is the topic short enough to retain readers but long enough to cover the material? If the topic is too short, should I merge it with another? If the topic is too long, should I break it into two topics? This is a lot of what I think about. Tom Johnson ( offers two interesting posts relevant to my dilemma. In the first post, he asks if short topics make information more findable. This is my current school of thought. In the second post, he takes the position that long topics are better for the user and explains why. As a lone tech writer, I love this stuff. Closing out Technical Communication, Column McAndrew opines that bad help breeds contempt. After all, if your dining experience at a restaurant isn’t memorable, are you going to return? Or will you avoid the place and tell your friends to do likewise?

Linda Newman Lior ( kicks off User Experience with tips on creating a successful information experience for your users. Bo Amidor ( follows up with three UX goals to keep in mind. And Thomas Wendt ( ponders what matters more, intention or interpretation.

In Content Strategy & Curation, we start with a primer on enterprise taxonomy from the good folks at Siteworx. Then John Waghorn ( details the importance of research to building a content strategy (including all the same great reasons we do research in tech comm) On the curation side, shares seven content curation tips for you  to follow. I was pleased to note that I am already following several of them. Jason Miner ( closes this section with his take on the benefits of content curation.

The world of Customer Experience Management opens with David Ashton ( encouraging us to unthink six sacred cows of CXM (and we’re wondering if unthinking is anything like cow tipping… but I digress). Writing in CMSWire, Ian Truscott gives us four superb reasons to be working with customer journeys, and Marisa Peacock explains what the customer journey is and how to use customer journey maps.

If you’re at all like me and could use a good online technical dictionary, I found one offered by Elsewhere in Career and Life, Vic Laurie ( tells us about Process Explorer, a powerful and free Windows system tool. Bill Kerschbaum ( follows up with a “cheat sheet” for better writing. Gotta love those cheat sheets. And we close out with a great story about high school tech writing teams and cardboard boats. Who knew deadlines and design could have such a soaking outcome?

Continue to Tech Writer This Week on Storify.

Subscribe to TechWhirl via Email