Tag Archives: Technical Writing

How Can Newbies Learn Tech Comm Tools Given Their Cost?

I recently received the following question from a reader: Hello. I’ve read some of your blog articles and they’ve been very helpful. I’m interested in changing careers and am hoping to pick your brain with a brief couple of questions. First, how do outsiders learn the software that TechComm folks use? I’ve looked at Adobe’s Continue Reading »

What Tools Do Technical Writers Use

Students and others trying to break into technical writing are always wondering what tools they should use. The latest tools survey from WritersUA seems helpful in answering this question. The survey concludes that some of the most popular tools for technical writers are Adobe Acrobat, Camtasia Studio, Adobe Captivate, Dreamweaver, Madcap Flare, Framemaker, Photoshop, Robohelp, Continue Reading »

Kanban and Limiting the Scope of Work

In Scrum and the Single Writer, Kathee Kuvinka mentions Kanban as a technique implemented in her agile-based company to keep the workload under control. Kathee writes, Kanban is a lean, or just-in-time methodology which is often used in manufacturing for inventory control and, like many good methodologies (including Scrum), originated in Japan. The philosophy is Continue Reading »

Matrix Foretells Future of Learning

Apparently the Matrix was somewhat prophetic in showing us the future of learning. The idea that you can download knowledge is becoming more of a reality. According to Fox News: Scientists from Boston University and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, have used a functional magnetic resonance machine (fMRI) to decode the process of learning. The Continue Reading »

Misleading Documentation Metrics

Mark Baker’s post, Why documentation analytics may misread, presents an appealing argument about why it doesn’t matter if just a few people read the manual. In his post, Mark argues that a small number of key influencers who read the manual can share the knowledge with a much larger group who do not read the Continue Reading »

Writing My Last Chapter

I was talking with my wife’s uncle last week about writing strategies for fiction, and whether it’s better to outline everything ahead of time, or figure it out as you go. The former is apparently called a “plotter” method and the latter a “pantser” method (called pantser because you fly by the seat of your Continue Reading »

Some Thoughts on Technical Writing in the Cloud

Cherryleaf has an informative article about technical writing in the cloud. Ellis Pratt writes, There are a number of reasons why a Technical Author might want to use a cloud-based application. The first reason is cost. Instead of purchasing an application, cloud-based applications are typically offered on a monthly fee basis. If you’re looking to Continue Reading »

Slides from STC Webinar on Organizing Content (Findability)

Here are my slides from the STC webinar I presented on organizing content (findability). The official title of the webinar was “Organizing Content: Breaking Out of Topic-Based Hierarchies.”  I added detailed notes for each slide. This should make the presentation understandable even without the audio recording. You can download the presentation in two formats: PDF format Continue Reading »

My STC Webinar on Organizing Content — This Thursday at 4pm EST

I’m giving an STC webinar this Thursday. Here’s the description: Organizing Help Content: Breaking Out of Topic-Based Hierarchies Organizing help content so that users can both find and learn information often requires technical writers to break out of the traditional topic-based folders and move toward faceted navigation, search engine optimization, interface text, level-based help, and Continue Reading »

Should Technical Writing Be Taught in High School? (Collaborative Post)

I received the following question from a graduate student doing research in technical writing: Right now I am working on some research with some other students, trying to determine whether technical writing should begin to be integrated more in high school level English classes so that when students reach college they have experience with writing professionally, and not Continue Reading »