Tag: <span>YES</span>

Pushing down on me, pushing down on you, no man ask for..

Top tune that. Greatest band in the world, don’t ya know.

So, how’s yer bum for lovebites? As an Irish friend was wont to say.

Remember how I said about the possibility of things getting a little mental and how the next few weeks would just be perfect if we managed to sell the house? How I’m away at a conference for three days, have one website design to finish, and two other clients asking for some new work, not to mention the usual commitments at work (although they can take a hike) and birthdays to remember (I might have to apologise right now Dad, I know you’ll understand), etcetera etcetera etcetera…

Guess what.

A young couple viewed the house, and after a double check of a couple of things and a second viewing they made an offer and, in the style of a certain latin american fruit tycoon, we said YES!

They are first time buyers, already had a sale in place but the seller pulled out earlier this week. Bonus points to us for not having a chain, and having a house that is in ‘walk in’ condition.

Moving date to be agreed but aiming for early October.

So, anyone got any spare boxes? Or wanna come help pack? Or help me find somewhere to live?

Now, if you’ll excuse me for a moment..

YESYESFUCKYESOHFUCKOHGODYESWOOHOOOOOYESFUCKINGETINYES!!!

Ahem. I’m “quite pleased”.

Life

How do you get started? Faced with that pristine new document, all that whitespace, what do you generally do to start writing that document?

Like most companies, we have a number of people who create content in a number of different styles and formats. The main producers are, of course, the technical writing team, but after that there is still a fair number of documents which fall into the “creative writing” bag including whitepapers, proposals, product sheets and so on.

The people involved in writing these documents are, for the most part, promoted internally and have had no formal training in how to write. I was chatting with one of them recently and he said that the biggest issue he had was just getting started, and once started he couldn’t really tell if what he was writing was particularly well structured.

“Hey” he said, “could you train us to be writers?”

One day I’ll learn not to say YES to such questions, but it seemed a reasonable request at the time.

The thing is, I’ve never been trained as a writer either, and writing technical documentation follows patterns which other types of document don’t necessarily follow. On the other hand, any pattern is better than no pattern and if I could introduce some basic methodologies, surely it’s better for everyone?

Luckily for me I had still had fresh memories of attending a particular session at the Technical Communication conference. Kim Schrantz-Berquist presented If you can write an article, you can write anything! in which she covered a couple of writing techniques which I think will be perfect to introduce to the ‘creative writers’ in our company.

The first one I’ve adapted quite a bit to better fit with the intended audience, but the principles of the 5Ws and 1H remain the same. If you cover Who, What, Why, When, Where and How you won’t missing anything, and it’s a good way to kick start the brain, and get past that first blank page.

Kim also covered the Inverted Pyramid, something more typically used in journalism, that loads all the important information at the top of the article, ideal for business writing as it allows people to ‘get out’ of the document without missing out on crucial information.

I’ve taken the techniques she covered, crafted some examples specific to our organisation, and a little bit about Active vs Passive, a few slides on grammar that build on advice from Prof. Pullum (basically, don’t sweat it and write as you would speak) and will hopefully deliver the first workshop next week.

But before I do that, I’d love to hear if you have any other techniques that could help.

Work

So, as she’s finally managed to figure out where the ON switch is (although I think quarsan might have had something to do with it) I can confirm that yes, I am the evil genius behind the new design over at My Boyfriend Is A Twat. It’s still under going some final tweaks, but it’s almost there.

Whilst the design is hardly ground breaking I think I probably got more out of the experience than Zoë did. It’s very easy to design a website for yourself, as you intimately know your own likes and dislikes. Designing for a “client” is, of course, completely different. Not only do their tastes sometimes clash with your own, but they have a certain way of working which, again, is usually completely different from yours.

It’s almost like getting the chance to wander round someone’s house. On one level everything is the same, they have a kitchen, I have a kitchen, they have a navigation section, I have a navigation section, but if you take in the detail you suddenly realise that it is ALL completely different – why DO they keep their knives in there?

I’ve read a lot of articles aimed at people starting out in web design, and I now start to see what the bulk of those articles were discussing. The need to set scope, the need to investigate and discuss HOW the site is used as opposed to how the client WANTS it used, negiotiating whether or not a certain feature is required, or whether something in the content could be changed to aid the design.

Specific example, I designed a template page for the photo gallery, Zoë didn’t want the navigation so I removed it as she thought it cluttered the page. In my book that’s a no-no as you lose consistency of navigation AND in this case branding as the site logo is gone as well but having looked at it again, I think it works better as it is now.

Client 1 – Would-be-designer 0.

Anyway, it WAS fun (honest Zoë!) and if nothing else the drunken emails – “oh YES – WONDERBRA! i think i’m pissed … he agrees and he’s not pixssed – it’s FANNNTABLOODYSTIC. i owe yoou several” – made it all worthwhile.

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.. and the living is easy….,

YES we did get let home early today, and I’ve managed to top up the old skin cancer levels in preparation for our holiday..

How was your afternoon? 😉

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Saturday Scruples (yeah yeah a day late…)

1. Outside a liquor store, a needy person offers to watch your bike while you’re inside. He needs to be trusted. Do you take a chance?
No. I would lock it up, and thank them for the sentiment, probably chat with them a little about the state of things, and ensure that they knew I appreciated the offer. I would do the same if I saw them again. A sad indication of our time.

2. You’re at a red light at 2 a.m. There’s no traffic in sight. The light is taking forever. Do you drive through it?
If I can see clearly in every direction, YES.
(If I did get spotted and pulled over it would allow me to go into my “haven’t you got anything better to do Officer” tirade. Not had the chance to dust that one off for a while..)

3. You’re in charge of a stakeout for a rapist. At risk of tipping off the rapist, do you warn women in the neighborhood of the danger?
No, if I’m in charge that sucker is going down!! Extreme prejudice will be deployed and if he so much as LOOKS at a women the wrong way – BAM! Seriously, yes it would be a risk, but if there was a controlled stakeout it is probably manageable, so no I wouldn’t tell anyone. Better that he is caught and put away, than tipped off to disappear and commit crime elsewhere.

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