Podcast about the Podcast Poll

Listen here: In this brief podcast, I discuss the results of the podcast poll that I published on my site earlier this week. I mostly wanted an opportunity to try out my new Behringer mixer/preamp, and the results of the poll served as perfect fodder for a podcast. In this 15 minutes of audio, I explain the direction that I plan to take my podcast based on the votes and feedback. Polls, surveys, and feedback are always a...

Combining Cinema with Screencasting

Harry Miller is a multimedia enthusiast who brings his expertise with film and audio to the screencasting world at his job at Microsoft. The following three videos are some of the most creative, mesmerizing video tutorials on Visio I've ever seen. Create an Office Layout Create an organization chart using video Create a Network Diagram These video tutorials don't just teach you how to create various charts in Visio. They...

How to Incorporate Twitter into Your Presentation

At the Intermountain STC workshop this morning, we talked about how to build an online presence. During my portion of the workshop, I facilitated a discussion using Twitter. With the dozen participants, all sitting in front of computers with Internet access, I told them to go to Search.Twitter.com and search for the #imstc hashtag. I posed a question for them to answer via Twitter. They responded, including the #imstc hashtag. When you in...

What I've Been Learning in Flare

Right now I'm immersed in an online help project in which I've been using Madcap Flare. Here a few tips I've picked up in the past month or so. Embedding Video To embed video into Flare, you have to insert the video as an image file. As long as the video is a SWF file, it embeds directly on the page. In order to keep the Flash player buttons on the video, use Camtasia Studio's Express Show format.  Express Show packages the Flash player ...

Why Is It Important for Video Tutorials to Be User-Led?

I recently spent 10 days in Florida visiting my family and giving a couple of presentations to the STC-Suncoast and STC-Orlando chapters on blogging. You can hardly take a family of kids to Florida without going to Disneyworld and Seaworld, so we did that as well. In case you're unaware of the cost of theme parks, prices are enough to bring on a cold sweat and tremor. (Thanks to some friends, one park was free.) After we completed our fou...

Minimizing Documentation

I recently attended an STC chapter presentation on interface design, and the speaker, Grant Skousen, showed us the following graphic. Simplicity and complexity We then launched into a discussion about minimalism. I think we all agree that minimalism in user interfaces is an increasing trend, especially with the success of the iPod and iPhone, which are all about simplicity and minimal design. Grant said every time you add something to an...

21% of Intermountain Chapter Members Planning to Renew STC Membership

I'm wary of posting on this topic because I don't want to launch into a long STC discussion. But according to our recent chapter poll, only 21% of our members are planning to renew their STC membership. 21 percent renewal rate Forty six people participated in the poll (we have 77 chapter members). You can read their list of reasons for not renewing in the full survey report. I'm wondering -- if our chapter is a microcosm for the whole, at...

Design Reviews and Posting Without Answers

Recently our technical writing team at work (Information Strategies and Design) started holding regular design reviews. The review sessions are patterned after meetings that our interaction designers hold regularly, in which they get together and critique each others designs and approaches toward user interfaces. In our design review sessions, a couple of members from our eight-person team share what they're working on and ask questions a...

How Microsoft Visual Studio Is Doing Help

The following 10 minute video shows what's new in the help system for the upcoming release of Visual Studio 2010 Beta 2. The key trends are as follows: Help is embedded in a browser because the browser is the predominant mode people use to find information. Search is the main method for navigating content. There's still a table of contents, but no more index. When you choose a topic, you see contextual topics related to the topic you...

Podcast Roundtable for PodcampSLC Series

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a podcast roundtable as part of a series to promote the upcoming Podcamp Salt Lake City, planned for March 26, 2010. Podcamp is a conference on podcasting and videocasting, with local presenters giving both beginning and advanced sessions in an informal setting. Guests on this round table show include Gregory Lemon, Drew Tyler, Thom Allen, and me. We recorded it at the Salt Lake Beta Loft,...

Theme Parks and External and Internal Input

This week I've been on vacation in Florida, visiting my family and touring the theme parks -- Seaworld, Disneyworld, and (soon) Busch Gardens. I used to live in Florida and would go to Busch Gardens all the time. But this week is more extreme. Our first day at Seaworld, I realized my theme park endurance was poor. The next day at Disney was much better, even with just 6 hours of sleep the night before. The second time around Seaworld (of ...

Podcast on the seven deadly sins of blogging

Seven deadly sins of blogging 1.0 Being fake (Sins of blogging) 1.1 Being irrelevant (Sins of blogging) 1.2 Being boring (Sins of blogging) 1.3 Being unreadable (Sins of blogging) ...

The Long Tail of Online Profitability

Last week I listened to David Peralty give feedback to Jeff Chandler about his WordPress Weekly and WPTavern.com projects (see episode 75). David praised the community and visibility that Jeff had created through his weekly podcast and forum, in addition to his WPTavern.com site, but noted that he was aware Jeff hadn't reached the monetization goals he hoped to achieve. In other words, Jeff has done a tremendous job at creating a communit...

Wikis and the Holy Grail of Content Independence

If you work in a large corporate environment, you're familiar with restrictions about accessing production servers to make updates or additions to your help content. To touch anything on a production server, you have to go through the change release process, which requires a lot of paperwork and procedural hassle. Almost no project manager sees documentation as important enough to release a new version of the software into production on a...

Reinventing Yourself Through Your Blog

The other week, while I was at the WebWorks Roundup conference in Texas, where I was one of the featured industry speakers, I was sitting next to Anne Gentle during one of the panel sessions, and I asked her about branding. It seems like once you become branded through your blog, it's hard to reinvent yourself. I was speaking at WebWorks on blogging and web 2.0. More than anything else, my blog has branded me as a blogger. This brand has...