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Letting Go of the Words (Interactive Technologies) Paperback – 13 Jul 2012

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Letting Go of the Words (Interactive Technologies) + Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability (Voices That Matter) + The Design of Everyday Things, revised and expanded edition
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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Morgan Kaufmann; 2nd Revised edition edition (13 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0123859301
  • ISBN-13: 978-0123859303
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 18.4 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 155,439 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"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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By Jayarfer on 12 April 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Found this book so useful and full of ideas, some obvious, many not so. Helps with the understanding of what makes web site visitors engage, what turns them off and how to basically 'do it properly'. A constant source of reference.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Considered an indispensable classic when it comes to writing for the Web. It is very good! Although the need to write rapdily 'scannable' copy tends to be driven by commercial imperatives. There should be more to the Web...
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By Mrs S Loots on 6 Aug. 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
this book was a great help to me in preparing my website
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 30 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
FORGET ABOUT IT!! 6 Sept. 2012
By COSMIC TRAVELER - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Are you waking up at night worrying about strategy and tactics? If you are, then this book is for you! Author Janice (Ginny) Redish has done an outstanding job of writing a second edition of a book on how to help you have great conversations through your web site, mobile app, social media, and whatever future innovations encourage interactions between you and others.

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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Indispensable Resource! 21 Sept. 2012
By Chris F. Willis - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I have been a huge fan of Ginny's Letting Go of the Words since the first edition as a one-stop resource for my eLearning content development team. We even led an internal workshop around the content of the book, as it is jam packed with best practices for writing for online viewers. This new edition builds on the first with updated research and examples, and is even more needed and welcome.

We find many of the new generation workforce woefully unaware of what our firm considers the most basic rules of writing - understanding the needs of the reader, using active voice, creating a hierarchy of useful headings, paring down the amount of content to fit the delivery medium ... This is especially true of new team members who come to us through a technical or graphic design track, but even degreed writers can be missing key foundational online writing skills. This book is an indispensable tool for filling in those gaps, and level-setting the entire team.

Whether you are tasked with writing for web sites, marketing, eLearning, or business portals, you would be hard pressed to find a more complete and useful primer.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Taking charge of the words 17 Jan. 2014
By David Field - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
A friend of mine who is a well-known author recommended this book to me and Ginny was kind enough to send it. Unfortunately it landed on the mess that is my desk and vanished from site and thought for too long.

Now I’ve rediscovered it and wished I’d never lost it. This book is for everyone who writes, not just for the web. I’m interested in writing presentations, and it works very well for that. Many books I’ve seen give vague instructions on how to engage your readers, but Ginny goes far deeper than that. She encourages you to think of how your audience is taking what they read.

An example is the Mint website, where she’s constantly reminding you of what your audiences think. People have many questions as they navigate the site, and you should be constantly aware to provide answers. Confused readers will eventually leave the website, still with questions. Similarly, presentation audiences will tune out if things aren’t clear.

Early on, Ginny points out the necessity of having personas, or sketches of the typical people who will be reading or hearing what you wrote. For each persona, you should consider how they feel after each of your statements. As your argument progresses, so should their thinking - in ways you can predict.

But it’s not just general writing – Ginny explains in considerable detail what works on a website. All too often, sites assume that people will read large amounts of text and click buttons that say “More Info” with no explanation why. Maybe you can recall when you stopped reading a website because it wasn’t saying what you needed to know.

As you can imagine, this is a very easy book to read. There are lots of illustrations that show both good and bad ways of imparting information. But the writing is so straightforward that you almost don’t need the illustrations.

This book is so important that I recommend it along with the two other books that I’ve relied on over the last few years. One is Bob Bly’s The Copywriter's Handbook, and the other is Steve Stockman’s How to shoot Video that doesn't Suck. Both books, like Ginny’s, give you vital guidance on things you probably didn’t even think were important. Best to get all three books, and keep them where you work. You will definitely get your money’s worth.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
More teachers need to use books like this as class textbooks 11 Feb. 2014
By Frank G. Van Bokkelen - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It's got all the information it says it does, explains it fairly well with tons of examples, and it's the single cheapest class book I've ever gotten.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
If you write anything, you need this book! 12 Oct. 2013
By NSlone - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Regardless of what type of writing you do, this is definitely the book for you. This book explains how to write content that will actually work for you. Sometimes good content is a good way of optimizing your website. I personally believe you can apply this book to just about any type of writing.
The author gives several case studies in this book which you can use as examples. I like this book, and since I write reviews and articles for the web, I will certainly be using it as a reference.
Writing in a conversational style engages your visitors' I am personally guilty of. Instead of saying exactly what the link goes to, I will sometimes use More or More Info for a link. If you don't know what you're going to read more info about, why should you click on the link. I will have to go back and fix my links, as well as choose my colors carefully, and especially make sure that the visited link does in fact change color, so my visitors know they have already been to that particular web page.
I also realize from reading that I really need to rewrite my articles and that I need to use this book to make them better. It's like the author takes you by the hand and walks you through the entire process of writing for the web.
I definitely would recommend this book to other people. Do yourself a favor, and get a copy of this book.
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