Tech-Comm Blogroll

Many tech writers have a heavy disdain for FAQs. At first this disdain seemed a bit unfounded and elitist to me, but now, after a recent project, I'm starting to get the reasons for the disdain. All too often the FAQ format is abused by non-writers who want an easy way to write. The list of random questions grows with each incoming question until it's a ridiculous hodgepodge of information thrown together, with no larger story or narrative. [...]
Fri, Jun 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source

You don't want to mess around with plutonium. It's a nasty material, even without taking its radioactivity into account, and if you get too much of it together in too small a place you can have a very bad day. But it seems that US nuclear lab managers ignored that in the worship of economy, at least for a while. Not a wise move.

I learned from people who recalled personally what happened to Slotin and Daghlian. Today's managers at Los Alamos are rotated through, I've heard, every two years. There are not many other places where one [...]

Thu, Jun 22, 2017, Continue reading at the source
TechWhirl Template Library

Editors Note: This Editorial Calendar template is one in a series of templates to help readers plan and manage communications and content management activities, resources and deliverables. We welcome ideas and suggestions for other TechWhirl Templates Library materials.

Definition:

An editorial calendar serves as a scheduling tool for teams and individuals within an organization who have responsibility for creating and distributing content to achieve specific marketing, sales, branding, and support goals.

Purpose:

A cross-functional editorial calendar drives alignment of actual content creation and production activities with the organization's strategic business goals and objectives. As a tool for scheduling, it supports the organization's resource [...]

Thu, Jun 22, 2017, Continue reading at the source

The 2017 refresh of a MadBlog article originally posted in March 2015, with the modest caveat that the author is not yet familiar with the latest MacBook Pros, newly on the market as of June 2017. I often see discussions …

The post Can I Run MadCap Flare on a Mac? Oh, Yes! appeared first on MadBlog: The Official Technical Communications Blog for MadCap Software.

[...]
Thu, Jun 22, 2017, Continue reading at the source

On Saturday 24 June 2017, Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web and Director of the W3C will be awarded the ACM A.M. Turing Prize.

This video from the ACM outlines Sir Tim's work on the Web and his thoughts on the award.

A few quotes from this short documentary particularly resonated with me.

How the Web allows many brains to be better than one brain

“How does humanity come up with interesting ideas when the problem is in lots of people's heads and different parts of the solution are in different people's head?” Tim Berners-Lee

The Open Web virtuous circle

“If [...]

Thu, Jun 22, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Some stories tell themselves. Other topics require a little more work. In fact, writing about a story (event) is much easier than just a topic. Still, there are times when even a news item doesn't exactly jump with excitement. So … Continue reading → [...]
Thu, Jun 22, 2017, Continue reading at the source

In this podcast, Gretyl Kinsey and Alan Pringle discuss Scriptorium's DITA training resource, LearningDITA.com. What is the business case for providing a free e-learning resource, and what does it take to get it started? What are the challenges of growing and managing an open-source, community-based project?

Resources:

LearningDITA.com LearningDITA.de (German translation by parson AG) LearningDITA.cn (Chinese translation by the Shanghai Association of Technical Communicators (SATC) LearningDITA GitHub repository LearningDITA project roadmap Sponsor the site (refers to LearningDITA.com only) Developing training websites in multiple languages with (mostly) open-source tools (Slideshare)

Twitter handles:

gretylkinsey alanpringle

The post LearningDITA podcast appeared first [...]

Thu, Jun 22, 2017, Continue reading at the source

This is one in a series of sketch notes taken at the 2017 Summit by STC Senior Member Elizabeth Alley. Relive the magic of the Summit in a unique and dynamic way through Elizabeth's sketches! You can see more of Elizabeth's work at elizabethalley.com.

[...]
Wed, Jun 21, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Reviews of two presentations at the UAEurope 17 conference. Kristof Van Tomme (Pronovix). Software support and Artificial Intelligence. Pawel Kowaluk (3di Poland). Knowledge Feed: Make your Online Help More Like Facebook Interspersed with interviews from at the UAEurope 2017 conference: Dr Tony Self. HyperWrite Willam van Weelden. Adobe Mike Hamilton. MadCap Software.

The post Help through AI, Help like Facebook appeared first on The Cherryleaf Blog.

[...]
Tue, Jun 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

It may be summer, but school's just starting for technical communicators! We've got some great webinars and online courses coming up. Make the most of your membership by beefing up your education report card.

This Week:

Check out Five Ways to Make Yourself Indispensable to Your Clients or Company, starting tomorrow, 21 June, at 2:00 PM EDT (GMT-4). Technical communicators often work behind the scenes, and their invaluable contributions can be overlooked or underestimated by their company or clients. This presentation will help technical communicators leverage their existing skills to make tangible contributions on the business side of their organization. [...]

Tue, Jun 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

All chatbots are not created equal. What separates a good chatbot from a bad one? A good chatbot helps users accomplish something more efficiently. A great one makes it enjoyable. A bad bot wastes time, returns nonsense, and may annoy or frustrate users enough to drive them away.

No one wants to build a bad chatbot, but if you've never designed one it's easy to underestimate the effort involved, or assume technology is all it takes. And that can result in a chatbot that harms the user experience instead of enhancing it. Creating a useful chatbot to successfully automate a process [...]

Tue, Jun 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

I read almost everything now online; either on my computer, my Galaxy S5 phone, or my Kindle Paperwhite. I've run into quite a few people who refuse to read on a phone or ereader, citing difficulty reading in sunlight or they just don't like it. But following a few tips can make your reading experience much more pleasant. The Teleread blog has compiled a list of tips you can follow.

Speaking for myself, I'd say that the most important is getting a front-lit ereader like the Kindle Paperwhite or Kobo Aura. You can read in almost any lighting condition from [...]

Tue, Jun 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Welcome to The RoundUp, a curated quick peek at the best—and most interesting—news, views, and opinions about content on the web. Let us know what you think.

To have The RoundUp delivered directly to your inbox, subscribe today!

Emoji Does It!

Google is notorious for having some of the worst emoji on the planet. Now it's righting its wrongs–and taking on gender stereotypes, too. The effort aims to highlight the diversity of women's careers and empower young girls.

In their popular [...]

Tue, Jun 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

This is one in a series of posts highlighting the activities and contributions of STC's communities. If you belong to a community and have important news or a key event to share, please email James Cameron at james.cameron@stc.org.

Last month, the Instructional Design and Learning Special Interest Group (IDL SIG) posted the slides from their meeting at the 2017 STC Summit at the Gaylord National Resort in National Harbor, MD. Get the scoop on what the SIG is doing, how their year went, and what to look for from them in the future. To view the full set [...]

Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source

It seems likely Artificial Intelligence (AI) and chatbots will play a key role in helping users, in the future. Amazon, Facebook, Google, IBM and Microsoft, as well as smaller technology companies, are all developing platforms for simulating an intelligent conversation with human users. This raises a question: Will chatbots mean we'll write a how-to task in …

Continue reading "Is your documentation AI and chatbot ready?"

The post Is your documentation AI and chatbot ready? appeared first on The Cherryleaf Blog.

[...]
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source

By Dashiel Neimark

I’m going to open my new column Evolution of XD Principles with a quotation that actually contradicts my position:

“If you do it right, it will last forever.”—Massimo Vignelli

He’s wrong. Massimo is a very well-known, well-respected Italian designer who has impressed the world by successfully innovating products in a variety of disparate product spaces. But he’s wrong.

Design should always accomplish one key thing: demonstrate a thorough understanding of the people who will engage with a solution. A design should accommodate the well-defined mental model of those engaging with an experience. However, a challenge for [...]

Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source

By Janet M. Six

In this edition of Ask UXmatters, our expert panel considers the contributions of UX designers that are most and least important to the product-development process. Can we generalize about the value of UX designers’ contributions to product teams? Or is the value a UX designer provides unique to that designer? How can UX designers exponentially increase the value of their skills and contributions by inculcating an experience-first culture into a multidisciplinary product team? How can product teams make meaningful work?

The panel discusses the importance of UX designers’ being involved in the product-development lifecycle from [...]

Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source

By Caroline Jarrett and Naintara Land

If you’ve ever struggled to find user-research participants, you may have wished you had a list of people who have expressed an interest in taking part in future user-research activities. A user-research panel is exactly that: a list or database of potential research participants—who have given you their contact details and maybe some other information about themselves—that you can recruit for specific research activities as they come up.

We’re enthusiastic about user-research panels, but we’re also realistic about the amount of work they involve. So, in this column, we’ll briefly touch on [...]

Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source

By Michael Morgan

You’ve just completed a readout of your latest ground-breaking research, presenting an hour-long slideshow, and hopefully, you’ve wowed your audience with what you’ve shown them. But all too often, after you’ve reported your research results, everyone returns to their workspace and develops a serious case of insight amnesia. Stakeholders quickly forget the juicy morsels of information that would make your company’s products better. Your insights remain stuck in your slide deck and may never again see the light of day.

There are two questions that arise from this dilemma: First, how can you make your research [...]

Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source

By Alipta Ballav

Envision coffee machines that start brewing just when you think it’s a good time for an espresso, office lights that dim when it’s sunny and workers don’t need them, your favorite music app playing a magical tune depending on your mood, or your car suggesting an alternative route when you hit a traffic jam.

Predictability is the essence of a sustainable business model. In a digital world, with millions of users across the globe, prediction definitely has the power to drive the future of interaction. Feeding a historical dataset into a system that uses machine-learning algorithms [...]

Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source
publishing groups workflow diagram

The new Publishing@W3C activity was formed in February 2017 when W3C finalized our combination with IDPF (the International Digital Publishing Forum). Over the last four months there's been a ton of progress. The new Publishing Business Group, the focal point for discussing overall requirements and issues, is up and running, with a kick-off meeting in March in London and bi-weekly calls. The new EPUB 3 Community Group is also up and running, with a full plate of work items to extend the success of the EPUB standard under the auspices of W3C. Over 50 former [...]

Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Why on Earth would an English major need numbers to make decisions? All of our work is so liberal artsy–so squishy and unquantifiable. What possible use could numbers be in our daily lives? However, the more time I spend with engineers, … Continue reading → [...]
Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source
chisels

This post is part of Scriptorium's 20th anniversary celebration.

Content creators love their tools. So much, in fact, they sometimes mistake selecting tools for developing a content strategy.

When evaluating content processes, focusing too intently on tools is an understandable reflexive action that content creators must control:

After all, tools are what we use every day to get our jobs done. That relentless focus on tools, however, can be a detriment when evaluating new strategies for developing and distributing content. Sarah O'Keefe and I wrote about this in Content Strategy 101:

A high level of proficiency in a specific tool fosters [...]

Mon, Jun 19, 2017, Continue reading at the source

if you've read this blog for a while, you'll know I'm a fan of Game of Thrones – both the TV show and the original books. I'm looking forward to both the next season of the TV show, and hopefully this year, the next novel in the series.

Here's an article that details an interesting rumour about Jon Snow and the next season of Game of Thrones. I hope this turns out to be true – it's just so neat.

A post on Reddit has shared a reported preview from the upcoming issue of Empire, describing Bran's recent [...]

Sun, Jun 18, 2017, Continue reading at the source

This is one in a series of sketch notes taken at the 2017 Summit by STC Senior Member Elizabeth Alley. Relive the magic of the Summit in a unique and dynamic way through Elizabeth's sketches! You can see more of Elizabeth's work at elizabethalley.com.

[...]
Fri, Jun 16, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Sometimes when I'm at a Seattle Sounders game, it'll dawn on me: gah I forgot to re-order my dog's special fat-dog food. I'll whip out my phone at halftime, login to Amazon, place my order. Done. Peace of mind. Though the use-cases may differ, mobile e-commerce shopping isn't going anywhere. A bad or frustrating mobile shopping experience can make or break a customer's relationship with your brand (and cost the business a lot of money).

Of course, not everyone has Amazon-level money to throw at the problem of designing an easy and efficient mobile checkout experience. They have huge teams [...]

Fri, Jun 16, 2017, Continue reading at the source

This is the first in a series of posts highlighting the activities and contributions of STC's communities. If you belong to a community and have important news or a key event to share, please email James Cameron at james.cameron@stc.org.

STC Houston is hosting an event honoring its volunteers. Volunteers are key to STC's success; congratulations to the honorees! More information can be found on the STC Houston site here.

June 20: STC Houston Volunteer Recognition Party JUNE 12, 2017 BY KATHERINE KIM

The STC Houston Volunteer Recognition party will be held on June 20 from 6:00 to [...]

Thu, Jun 15, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Before I let you in on how great MadCap Analyzer is and how much time you're about to save, I'd like to quickly paint a picture of a scenario that might be too familiar to some. Picture it: you've inherited …

The post A Quick Guide to MadCap Analyzer and How It Will Save You Time appeared first on MadBlog: The Official Technical Communications Blog for MadCap Software.

[...]
Thu, Jun 15, 2017, Continue reading at the source
ISWC Vienna, 21-15 October 2017

A criticism of Linked Data, RDF and the Semantic Web in general is that is doesn't scale. In the past this has been a justified complaint – but no longer.

The EU-funded Big Data Europe project, in which W3C is pleased to be a partner, is running a series of pilots in 7 different societal areas (the European Commission's Societal Challenges). Not all of these use Linked Data but those that do are using a lot of it. OpenPHACTS, for example, provides an API to a service that reconciles the many different identifiers used in biomedical and pharmacological [...]

Thu, Jun 15, 2017, Continue reading at the source
It's been a busy month for mail and suggestions, but I try to respond to the messages I receive as soon as the next free blogging space. Today's entry is written in response to a friend in Illinois who had … Continue reading → [...]
Thu, Jun 15, 2017, Continue reading at the source