Monday – Content design

I was recommended this book by a content designer who told me “Sarah Richards, she literately wrote the book on content design”. And I’d recommend it on.

It’s a small book, easy to read in a couple of sittings. And it lays out the ground work for content design. Focus on your message, write clearly, cut the fluff.

But. And there is a but. I found it plain and boring to read, and sometimes annoying.

It might just be me but I found the layout of this book confusing and distracting from the content. There are pages where format is all over the place, like the typesetter spilled the letters and thought they’d leave them where they fell. Or worse, the graphic designer was bored and thought they’d jazz it up a bit by moving words around the page. I hate that.
There, I’ve said it. I’ve criticised the content design book that is The Content Design Book. They’ll never let me into the profession now!

Oh well. Have an opinion they say. Well here’s my opinion. And while I’m on it, there’s no pictures either. Pictures aren’t essential but they are good. They can help convey information quicker and with more clarity than words, and illustrate a point in an engaging way. More pictures I say.

Wednesday – communities of practice

If you want to talk and share stories, there’s no way better than getting out of the office and doing it over a pizza in the pub. Six of us headed down to the The Hop on Fossgate at lunchtime. They have a wood fired pizza oven that really does the business when it comes to crispy fresh pizzas. The conversation wasn’t bad either! This could become a monthly event.

Thursday – research plan elevator pitch

So you’ve written your research plan. You’ve dotted all the i’s crossed all the t’s and then you have to present it to your stakeholders for approval. Thing is, they want to know all the information but they don’t want to wade through pages and pages so you need to bring it down.
I started with 15 mins on the agenda, then 10, then finally ended up with 3 minutes to describe 12 weeks of work. I did it, with just a few seconds over.
Scripting a presentation or a talk is a challenge but well worth it the time spent and it’s amazing how much you can convey through focusing on key points rather than wiffle waffle around them. Time scales may be a little different but I do love the response from Woodrow Wilson when asked how long it took him to prepare a speech:

“That depends on the length of the speech,” answered the President. “If it is a ten-minute speech it takes me all of two weeks to prepare it; if it is a half-hour speech it takes me a week; if I can talk as long as I want to it requires no preparation at all. I am ready now.”

Woodrow Wilson, 1918

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