If you’ve started writing topics but your content isn’t meeting user expectations, it’s time to apply a little minimalism to your content. If you have too many words, your readers will start to skim instead of read and they’ll miss your core content. Organizing your content by topic type and then whittling it down to “just enough information and in the right place” is extra work, but the results are well worth it: clarity for your users, fewer words for translation, and sexy, streamlined topics.
Use lists and tables correctly, keep your phrasing short and clear, don’t let your topics ooze out of control. Edit your content to remove unnecessary phrases like “this is what you’re about to read” and “you’ve just configured this widget” that add no value.
The value of clear titles cannot be underestimated. A short but descriptive title can convey not only subject matter, but topic type as well. Combined with a killer short description, your users will be able to decide which topics to read without even navigating to them.
Using DITA elements correctly also saves valuable words, especially for tasks. Wield elements like <context>, <cmd>, <info>, and <step-result> to really add oomph to procedures.
Clear titles. A wiz of a short description. Using the elements correctly. And then the art of editing for minimalism.
What more can we say? If you don’t write with minimalism, learn it.