Blog: Content writing and content strategy insights

User testing your web content leads to happiness

One of the UXNZ 2015 Conference highlights for me was the opening speech by legend US information architect and publisher, Lou Rosenfeld. He talked about how he came up with the design and layout for the books his company publishes. Quite simply, he took his books out and tested them with real people. He wanted to learn whether he could make an age-old product like a hardcopy book easier to use. Turns out you can.

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Writing translatable English: resources to get you started

The goal of global English is to be intelligible. Not to speak or write impeccable Standard English but to communicate our meaning successfully to people whose English is different from our own.


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Global English is the foreign language that most technical writers need

Global English for Global Business by Rachel McAlpine

Learning Global English is more use to most technical writers than learning a Foreign Language. And easier!

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March 06, 2014


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Ebook cover design and why I love (some) invoices

Invoice from a sister for ebook cover design

Doing business with my sister Lesley Evans is a rather special experience.

Recently she kindly agreed to do illustrations for three of my novels: they will be needed when I reformat my backlist as ebooks and publish them on Kindle.

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Seven decades, seven lessons for writers

I’m gearing up for Vancouver’s PLAIN2013 conference in October, and getting a bit excited. All the speakers have been asked to answer three questions for the conference blog:

  1. Why is plain language important in your work?
  2. What is your presentation focus, and what are some of the key points participants will learn?
  3. What is the best plain language advice you can give?

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Writing tip: If you read and write for work, read for pleasure too

You may wonder why we sometimes mention fiction on this business blog.

Simple. If you write at work, you need to write clearly and efficiently, and reading is essential for honing any writer's skills and sensitivities.

Stephen King said, "If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write." He was talking to so-called creative writers, but the same rule applies to everyone who writes at work.

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December 15, 2012


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2012 books: Memorable trumps Enjoyable fiction and non-fiction

Once again I'm choosing Christmas books (the printed sort) to give my family.  

Winnowing the wheat from the chaff, my first criterion is as crude as bog mud.

When I pick up a book six months after reading it, do I experience an immediate cinematic rush of images and characters and flavour? Or do I struggle to remember anything about this book at all? That happens far too often nowadays: the fault doubtless lies in my own synaptic inertia.

The following 10 books are not all favourites, by any means—I've enjoyed certain other books in 2012 just as much or more. These books do not all pass the Enjoyability Test, but they do all pass the Unforgettability Test.

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