- Series: Interactive Technologies
- Paperback: 368 pages
- Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 2 edition (August 28, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0123859301
- ISBN-13: 978-0123859303
- Product Dimensions: 7.5 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,440 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Letting Go of the Words, Second Edition: Writing Web Content that Works (Interactive Technologies) 2nd Edition
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"For anyone who works in e-learning, I strongly recommend Letting Go of the Words. It will transform how you communicate online. After reading it, the bad practices will leap off the page." -e.learning age, Nov 2014
About the Author
Janice (Ginny) Redish has been helping clients and colleagues communicate clearly for more than 20 years. For the past ten years, her focus has been helping people create usable and useful web sites.
A linguist by training, Ginny is passionate about understanding how people think, how people read, how people use web sites - and helping clients write web content that meets web users' needs in the ways in which they work.
Ginny loves to teach and mentor - and to practice what she preaches. She turns research into practical guidelines that her clients and students can apply immediately to their web sites.
Ginny's earlier books received rave reviews for being easy to read and easy to use, as well as comprehensive and full of great advice. She is co-author of two classic books on usability:
* A Practical Guide to Usability Testing (with Joseph Dumas)
* User and Task Analysis for Interface Design (with JoAnn Hackos)
She is also the author of the section on writing on www.usability.gov.
Ginny's work and leadership in the usability and plain language communities have earned her numerous awards, including the Rigo Award from the ACM Special Interest Group on the Design of Communication and the Alfred N. Goldsmith Award from the IEEE Professional Communication Society.
Ginny is a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication and a past member of the Board of Directors of both the Society for Technical Communication and the Usability Professionals' Association.
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Top Customer Reviews
Her knowledge of how to write for the web is very strong and pretty clear. It’s good advice.
The chapters are laid out nicely and easy to follow
NOT SO GOOD
Most of the examples and data are from 2010 - 2012. Some date back to 2007. That’s a long time. In the digital world things change rapidly. What was true half a decade ago may not be now.
Irony: The author is a stickler for making information accessible to everyone, including people with site and vision problems. Yet, the screen shots and examples in the book are too small to see comfortably. Unless your vision is super, expect to get out the magnifying glass.
Author Redish, begins by showing you how to have good conversations through your web site. In addition, the author delves into why planning your content is critical for apps, web sites, individual web topics, blogs, social media messages, and everything you write. She then discusses how to integrate content and design from the beginning. The author then, shows you how to consider the entire site. She continues by looking at the size of your site; if it is large enough, then you may need pathway pages between the home page and the information people want. In addition, the author tackles four important guidelines: Think information, not document; divide your content thoughtfully; consider how much to put on one web page; and, use PDFs sparingly and only for good reasons.
She then continues to focus on not hogging the conversation within a single web topic. Next, the author reminds you how to combine labels with more information. Then, she shows you how to choose a good heading style: questions, statement, verb phrases, etc. The author continues by looking at how to write the paragraphs, sentences, and words of your web content. In addition, she encourages you to use numbered lists for instructions as much as possible. Next, the author warns that you should not make program or product names links by themselves. She then describes what makes illustrations work well, or not work well. The author continues by showing you how to negotiate successful reviews and edits. Finally, she shows you how to do usability testing of the content.
This most excellent book will help you create great content. Perhaps more importantly, this book shows you how to meet your business goals by satisfying your site visitors' conversations through usability testing.
Remember: Content as conversation
After reading Steve Krug’s “Don’t Make Me Think”, I’ve become a huge fan of callouts because it really helps you understand the user’s thought process. The inclusion of callouts and smiley face tidbits in this book works magic. It shows that the author had user experience design in mind which, to my delight, she devotes the final chapter to.
Tips that strike gold:
- Write in active voice – this is how users think with stories
- Context before new stuff – “If/then” or “given/new” is how people converse
- Use strong verbs (not “is” or “were”) for links or instructions – calls for action
- Use noun phrases sparingly - they can be confusing and boring
- Use “I”, “you” and “we” to be conversational and gender-neutral
This book is simply incredible and will be a powerful reference for me. Anybody who wants to write better content in todays’ time-deprived world should read this.
P.S. If you liked Steve Krug’s book, you will absolutely love this!
1) Practical - I use the advice here almost every day at work writing copy for websites.
2) Evergreen - Even as websites evolve, nothing here will go out of style. You may add on to it, but this is truly evergreen content.
3) Clear - The book practices what it preaches, presenting the information you need with lots of subheads and bullets.
If you write anything that goes on a website—or even plan what goes on the website (like a content strategist)— the buy this book.
P.S: If you have the first edition, this book is still worth buying. They added tons of extra content.