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Communicating about complexity

If there was ever a time for clear information, it’s now. Clear information that we can find, trust and act upon. Whether it’s right now, in the midst of this crisis, or as we emerge in the months and years ahead.

3di communicates clearly about complex products and about the way organisations work.

It’s hard to communicate about complexity

Complexity must be respected and acknowledged, but somehow clearly communicated.

How do you communicate about something complex without causing confusion and misunderstanding, but instead create information that is trusted and relied upon? And how do you achieve this, while recognising that people:

  • learn in different ways
  • are starting with different levels of expertise
  • are operating in different contexts, and
  • need to achieve different goals?

That’s why technical communicators exist

Now, if you happen to be a technical author, information designer or another practitioner in the world of technical communication, these challenges will probably mean something quite concrete to you. The systems, machinery, software or processes you communicate about are probably inherently complex – otherwise, your job wouldn’t exist. You will have grappled with how to create clear information about something complex, and had to acknowledge that your audience can be diverse and have a number of contexts for accessing the information you create.

However, maybe that’s not you. You may not be someone who already specialises in solving these challenges – but you need to solve them anyway. Maybe you’re a Product Manager, or a Chief Technology Officer, or an Operations Director. More than any others, it’s folk with these job titles who have contacted 3di over the last 17 years and asked us to improve the way their companies communicate about complex products or about the way they work.

Complexity made clear is worth investing in

In the current crisis, and in the months and years ahead, having clear information ready and accessible for when people need it is more important than ever. Whether it’s explaining the rules about the circumstances under which a freelancer can furlough themselves, or providing help for new home-workers using the latest tools, taking the time to explain complex products or services as simply and clearly as possible can pay dividends now, and in the long run.

When complex information is clear, it:

  • reduces demands on contact centres and support teams
  • saves everybody time, money and stress
  • improves customer engagement and loyalty

But making complex information clear requires the right skills, techniques, tools and insights. You are almost certainly going to need more than one brain to achieve what you need – even if the total time spent is equivalent to one full-time person.

3di’s technical communicators can help

We have been solving the challenge of complexity made clear for 17 years and have honed ways of delivering the benefits for our customers. Sometimes we provide individuals on a contract assignment, but that may not be enough for what you need to achieve.

For example, when we are providing outsourced technical authoring services, we combine several people; around a core technical author specialist who’s focused on getting to know the product and customer. Each team member provides their own specialism, and each contributes part-time to several customer projects. This approach ensures each 3di team member focuses on their strengths, keeps up with industry best-practice and deploys their expertise in focused ways for each customer when they need it.

That’s how it’s possible for us to respect and communicate clearly about each customer’s own special complexity. We excel at it, and why we focus on complexity made clear.

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Paul Ballard

Paul Ballard

As Managing Director, Paul still enjoys contributing to solution design and strategic reviews for customers with complex problems to solve. He also leads our strategic partnerships. When he’s not keeping up with his young (and not so young) family, he reads, watches movies, and doesn’t play his guitars.View Author posts

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