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

The Content Strategy Term of the Week

TLOCS Cover 268px

For 52 weeks The Language of Content Strategy website introduced 52 terms and 52 definitions from 52 experts in the field of content strategy.

The book The Language of Content Strategy contains all 52 of these terms and definitions, along with essays about the importance of each term and a full index. It is part of The Content Wrangler Series of Content Strategy books.

Here are the weekly terms and their definitions.


Information Architecture

Transactional Content Map

Editorial Calendar

Information Visualization

Message Architecture

Augmented Reality

Intelligent Content

Adaptive Content

Content Management System

Document Engineering

Content Engineering


Modular Content

Content Reuse


Structured Content

Single Sourcing


Content Scorecard

Content Model

Content Flow

Content Type

Content Matrix

Content Analysis

Content Audit

Content Inventory

Requirements Matrix

Content Brief


Search Engine Optimization



Content Quality Assurance

Content Optimization


Content Standard

Content Lifecycle

Content Strategy



Design for How People Learn

book_coverWritten by Julie Hale

My training in technical writing has made me want to learn more about the field of instructional design, so I recently read an interesting book called Design for How People Learn by Julie Dirksen (New Riders Press, 2012). The author makes good use of photographs, cartoon-like drawings, mock screenshots, and other graphics. The book’s tone is conversational, and the author uses current cultural references and her own experiences to provide context for the ideas she presents.

Dirksen does a great job of laying out the basics, which makes the book particularly valuable to anyone without an extensive background in instructional design. She discusses skill vs. knowledge, explains why some teaching methods don’t work well in time-compressed situations, and describes the difference between a motivation gap and a knowledge gap. Her observations are thoughtful and her analyses extend beyond the teaching method. Sometimes, she notes, an instructor may not be dealing with a learning problem—instead, the problem may involve another factor like leadership or style of communication. The author also believes that while learners can’t be forced into being motivated, it is possible for good instructional design to help promote and support motivation.

Dirksen’s clear and logical explanation of key concepts and her focused writing style makes the book a quick and engaging read. I recommend Design for How People Learn to anyone interested in knowing more about how to convey information effectively.

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