FTCC launches its site and call for entries today
The FTCC team launched the advertisement of the Florida Technical Communications Competition today. You can view the site at http://stc-suncoast.org/ftcc.
There are more participants on this competition team than any other, and it's pretty exciting. Lots of group involvement. It has definitely got our members buzzing around each other with ideas, and now a couple of them are going to be doing a special podcast on the FTCC. I plan to have the podcast posted on the contentwrangler as well as our site.
I want to make a few notes about the ftcc site. I created it using the Andreas theme, which is supposed to be more of a website theme. I was also thinking of converting our Suncoast blog site into this theme, but the aesthetics of the Andreas theme just don't seem to compel me to do it. The Andreas theme is a little plain. With a white background and gray buttons, it leaves something to be desired. I like more color.
Also, I wasn't entirely clear how I would control the main pages versus the subpages. All pages you create are automatically forced into the navigation structure. But what if I wanted to omit some pages entirely from the navigation? It seems I'd have to poke around in the template's files for a few hours to figure out how to do that. It is very autogenerated.
Blogs are starting to get more complicated. The very basic structure of the blog's template files for Wordpress have grown in complexity with the introduction of "sidebar widgets" (drag and drop functionality on the admin side for setting up what you want on the sidebar). Probably in a few years, blogs will be so advanced that, like compact imported cars, you'll have to take it to an expert to work on it. That might actually be a good thing, though, because right now blogs still look like amateur websites.
The number one challenge for blogs, in my opinion, is organizing the information in a useful way. The contentwrangler has about 30 categories set up for information. The suncoast site has about 15, and I've hidden them behind a second level menu, for the most part. It is so easy to publish, there becomes a wealth of information that just doesn't fit any category.
One last note about the FTCC site: it was extremely easy to set up. The whole thing can be done in an hour, once you select your theme. That is why I like blog sites -- they are like websites in a box. They also offer interactivity, which is not a feature that most traditional websites even come close to.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer based in the Seattle area. In this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, visual communication, information architecture, writing techniques, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out simplifying complexity and API documentation for some deep dives into these topics. If you're a technical writer and want to keep on top of the latest trends in the field, be sure to subscribe to email updates. You can also learn more about me or contact me.