Apple's Two-Step Verification versus Two-Factor Authentication, or, When Marketing's lingo makes it impossible to communicate with plain speech

In the latest episode of This Week in Tech (TWIT episode 585), the hosts talk about how confusing Apple's two-factor authentication is compared to Apple's two-step verification. The hosts, who are all tech gurus, had trouble sorting out the difference, and their experience with the service was even more problematic. This naming fail points to a core challenge in tech comm in which Marketing's choice of terms makes it difficult for tech writers to communicate plainly. Read more »

How to respond to product disasters: Analyzing Samsung's response to their exploding phones in contrast to Dyn's response to the DDoS attack

What would you do to rebuild trust in your brand after a product disaster like Samsung's exploding phones? I looked at Samsung's recall notice and newsroom articles to see what strategies they employed, but I found the communication brief, plain, and short of any detail that would help rekindle trust. If company's want to gain user trust, they must share more information and details with users, as Dyn did in their company blog posts after the recent DDoS attacks. Read more »

How to deliver newsletters for your Jekyll site

Although email may seem somewhat antiquated, it has by far the greatest reach of any communication method. If you have a Jekyll-based site, here's an easy approach to sending out an email newsletter. This approach involves using a for loop to get a summary of your latest posts and then pushing them into simple HTML formatting that you can paste into Tinyletter's template. Read more »

Coding the sidebar navigation element for documentation websites

Sidebar navigation is one of the more complex components of a documentation site, and it is critical for helping users understand and find documentation. I hacked together a sidebar menu for a doc site that's hosted on a somewhat inflexible platform, using Jekyll to generate the sidebar. Important features of a documentation sidebar include multiple levels of depth, expand/collapse options, accordion effects, fixed navigation, dynamic menu highlighting, and more. Read more »

From podcasts to audio books and now back to podcasts -- experimenting with a new angle

Lately I've been turning my attention away from audio fiction and back into technology podcasts. I'm curious whether looking at the tech comm angle associated with technology news might provide a fruitful angle for blog posts and discussion. Read more »

Saving Your Sanity Through Better Client Relations -- with Alisa Bonsignore

In this presentation, Alisa Bonsignore, a technical communication consultant based in the San Francisco Bay area, talks about how she developed confidence and experience in consulting with clients about writing projects. In the beginning, Alisa started out by apologizing for projects in which she worked excessive numbers of hours for little pay, often trying to meet last-minute requests that required late nights and zapped her work-family balance. But project by project, she started to understand how to interact with clients in a more professional, self-respecting way. Ultimately this helped save her sanity and build a stable income through a reputable business. Read more »