Some Favorite Tech Comm Subjects and Where You Can Read About Them


book-reviewsWhether you want to learn something new, or want to learn something more, here is a list of recommended reading that can help you write useful content.

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content by Ann Handley

How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times by Roy Peter Clark

Grammar Girl’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing by Mignon Fogarty (various books, app, podcasts)

Nicely Said: Writing for the Web with Style and Purpose by Nicole Fenton, Kate Kiefer Lee

Content Strategy for the Web, Second Edition by Kristina Halvorson, Melissa Rach

Oxford Guide to Plain English, Fourth Edition by Martin Cutts

Hemingway App – Makes your writing bold and clear (desktop, mobile versions)

Adobe RoboHelp HTML 11 Essentials

Standards for Online Communication

An Introduction to SmartDocs

Content Everywhere: Strategy and Structure for Future-Ready Content

If you have any other suggestions, please send email to

Book Review: Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps, 2nd Edition


Joe Welinske, of WritersUA, is something of a guru when it comes to developing Help for mobile devices. In this second edition of Developing User Assistance for Mobile Apps, Joe has completely revised it with 300 new pages and 22 new chapters. It also includes 400 illustrations of Help patterns used in apps such as Google Earth, Verizon, and WebMD, along with Joe’s comments about each.

Technical communicators will benefit greatly from reading this book. For those who play a UX role, and even for those who don’t, it is an expertly written and thorough examination of the emerging tools (such as simulation software) and techniques (such as coach marks and embedded Help) used to develop mobile UA. The book also provides information about working with UI text, writing for small-screen interfaces, applying touch language to UA, voice technology, single-sourcing, and other aspects of mobile technology.

This isn’t a quick start guide, it’s more of an engaging textbook, and is well worth keeping nearby as a handy reference. Or, use it to show others in your organization which Help design is best for your mobile app.

Joe Welinske has been involved with software documentation since 1984, specializing in the area of user assistance. He has served as president of the Puget Sound Chapter of STC for two terms, and regularly provides featured talks at other chapters of the Society for Technical Communication.


You can buy the printed version of the book on Lulu. It is also available through Amazon. The website for the book offers full-color versions of all the images and live links to all the resources.

Customizing Makes Personalizing Possible


The difference between “customizing” and “personalizing” can be confusing. Do you customize something to personalize it, or personalize something to customize it?

The first is true. You customize something so it’s personalized.

One of the reasons these terms aren’t always distinguishable is because personalization is relatively new in some areas.

Personalized medicine is new. It uses genetics to tailor a treatment that has been customized for each patient.

Personalized learning has been around for a long time. From the teacher’s perspective, personalization means designing learning experiences that provide students with choices they can make depending on their own needs.

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