September 27, 2006

Simplified English

27 September 2006 Now there's a good idea - Simplified English, a standard to (among other things) make it easier for non-native english speakers to understand technical documentation.

Image with hands actross the globe - link to Tedopres
I wasn't aware of it until I saw this post on TCW. What's more, I will use it to good effect tomorrow, when I have dinner with a friend who has been known to favour the Chicago Manual of Style.

By the way, if you expect a pdf download when you request the "free booklet" from Tedopres, the company mentioned in the TCW post, you'll be disappointed. All I got after giving them all my contact information was an email promising that they'll get back to me. A dumb move of their part. I could not find any privacy information on their site either ( I should have looked for that earlier) and the result is an unhappy prospective customer (me). Giving me instant access to the booklet and following up with a sales call later would have been a much more productive move on their part.

Later: James Robertson pointed me to this paper by Susan Harkus and Tomoko Gondow about writing for translation, food for thought!

Posted by Marius at 10:00 AM | Comments (1)

February 22, 2006

Getting someone's Attention

22 February 2006 Two lessons which all of us with websites learn at some time or another:

Jon Udell is a highly respected journalist who writes for InfoWorld. He has his own weblog (of course) where he writes about a variety of technical topics, invariably well written and worth reading. The other day, when I was looking for something he wrote recently, I entered some relevant terms into the search box at the top of his Weblog and received an unexpected result (A Verity page with no result for even the most common terms). Clearly something had gone wrong. The next day I tried again (we ignore occasional glitches, don't we?) but it still didn't work.

Because I care about this stuff, I looked for a way to contact him and found a convenient "email me" button on the site which resulted in a friendly form, inviting me to leave a comment for Jon which even offered to send me a copy of the comment as an email (a nice feature).

error message

Sadly, when I hit "Submit" I got this error. My attempt to be a "good guy" had clearly failed. At that stage I had the option of ignoring the issue (as probably many of his other readers have done), or to write about it here, in the hope that I can get Jon's Attention this way.

[Later: Jon did not disappoint, he found this blog entry within a couple of hours of posting it (see comments).]

[Much, much later: Jon's blog finally got rid of the Old Infoworld header with the "bad search box". I'm sure there is a story behind why it took a long time to correct that problem. With many organisations there is a yawning gap between realising there is a problem and getting "the IT department" to implement a fix. IT magazines are not immune to this phenomenon - Marius 21 July 2006]

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Posted by Marius at 07:10 AM | Comments (3)