Technical Writing – Making Resolutions for the New Year
A new year means you get the chance to do things over, to do things better. Whether you've been happy with your technical writing team or you think things should improve, it's time to look back on the past year to see what needs to improve and what needs to be removed from your company for the year ahead. (Technical Writing – Making Resolutions for the New Year)
A few of her recommendations were on the conservative side, in my opinion. Update your software, modernize your style guide. Nevertheless, this got me thinking about new directions I'll take in 2011. I've been moving in some of these directions for a while. Here are the top 10 technical writing resolutions I have for 2011.
- Use wikis rather than traditional HATS to author help content.
- Give users quick reference guides rather than long printed guides.
- Include more visuals, especially concept diagrams, in my help content.
- Master Adobe Illustrator and increase my understanding of visual techniques.
- Read more of my RSS feeds online and use them as a way to generate ideas for posts.
- Start negotiating with project managers using an official user education plan rather than informal agreements.
- Implement an official workflow of post-release documentation efforts based on user feedback, bugs, questions, and other unforeseen situations.
- Solidify our team with standard approaches and processes as well as build unity through proximity.
- Contribute to corporate blogging efforts for IT site.
- Interact with community through forum, feedback, and other participation channels; stay abreast of needs and questions.
These aren't so much resolutions as directions I'm heading.
About Tom Johnson
I'm a technical writer / API doc specialist 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.