Illuminating Information – Bringing clarity to work and life

Illuminating Information LogoI’ve started this blog to share my passion for clear communication and thoughtfully designed products. As technical writers and UX designers, I believe we are in key positions to contribute to companies’ bottom line while making users’ lives easier. That’s why I use the tagline, “Bringing clarity to work and life.”

Clarity in work

Having worked with many product development groups, I’ve been especially interested in how products evolve from concept to commercial. Regardless of the development methodology, clear and accessible information in the workplace contributes to the timeliness and quality of the finished product.

One of the smoothest product releases on which I worked resulted from one of the most motley, contentious development teams. The one thing the team could rally around was the design specification database. Every one contributed to it and ultimately everyone understood what to build and how it should function, so that QA, Doc, Sales, and Product Services were ready for each build and commercial release.

Clarity in life

Once a product is purchased, it becomes part of someone’s work or personal life. Our contribution as technical writers and usability experts is we can make a product’s usage and benefits clear to its users, thereby making their lives easier.

In doing my work, I recall an assembly language course I took as part of my Computer Science degree. One day, the professor angrily passed back a quiz on converting between binary and hexadecimal. Most of the class (including me) did poorly. The professor’s reaction was to berate the class and he kept exclaiming, “It’s simple!” The more he repeated that phrase, the angrier the class became. It’s not enough to present information and just expect people to “get it.” It’s important to gauge your audience and provide them a variety of clues to help them see things clearly.