Clear, Concise, Consistent: Reducing Using Confusion

This 40-minute presentation was given at the 2014 WritersUA Conference for Software User Assistance held in March in Palm Springs, California.

Clear, Concise, Consistent: Reducing User Confusion from Rhonda Bracey

Official description from the 2014 WritersUA conference website:

Even today, a lot of procedural/reference writing is filled with extraneous words, is missing vital information, or wanders off on tangents. As a result, users are confused and can’t complete their tasks successfully. And that makes them frustrated, angry, and unproductive—and can seriously damage your company’s reputation.

In this practical session, Rhonda will identify common writing problems and offer practical strategies for fixing them. She will emphasise how achieving the ‘three Cs’—clarity, conciseness, and consistency—can reduce user confusion and result in user success, and, as a bonus, reduce word count and thus reading time, translation costs, and the cost of consumables, if printed.

Rhonda will show you how to identify—and fix—these common writing issues:

  • redundant and unnecessary words
  • vague, relative, and wishy-washy words
  • inconsistent terms, punctuation, and capitalization
  • non-parallel lists.

PDF of this presentation (1.8 MB)