Tech-Comm Blogroll

The first day of the 2017 IA Summit overwhelmed me in the best way possible. I attended a variety of sessions, talks and discussions about how machines and humans are meant to work together, as a team, to solve the different challenges people face today. In keeping with the theme of “Designing for Humans,” some talks expanded on the role of the information architect and how they can enhance their own skills and add value with the aid of artificial intelligence—and not the other way around.

Here's a quick overview of what I saw, and how we can use AI to [...]

Sat, Mar 25, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Screenshot of web page

Understanding and using Grid is easier than you might expect. The day Grid support shipped in Firefox 52, I decided on the spur of the moment to convert the basic layout of my personal site to use Grid. And it was a fairly simple process—five minutes to write the grid styles, then 15-20 spent troubleshooting.

Grid allows us to literally define column and row grid lines, then attach elements to those lines in any order we choose. That may sound like tables, but Grid is so much more than tables ever dreamed. It means more responsive layouts, far more accessible [...]

Thu, Mar 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source

We've just uploaded a free video guide on Getting Customers to Answer Their Own Support Questions. The guide is free. You just need to register and log into our elearning platform. See: Getting Customers to Answer Their Own Support Questions.

The post Free guide – Getting Customers to Answer Their Own Support Questions appeared first on The Cherryleaf Blog.

[...]
Thu, Mar 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Who's There for Communities? Meet the CAC Team for 2016 -2017

Community leaders will be glad to hear that, once again, the STC Community Affairs Committee (CAC) has got their backs in 2016-2017. If you need help, feel stuck, or just want ideas, look to the CAC as your connection to STC's resources, Board of Directors, and staff.

Let's introduce this year's team so you can reach out.

Liz Herman | Vice Chair, Community Affairs Committee

Liz Herman is a current Director at Large on STC's Board of Directors. Her term runs from 2016 May-2018 May. She is currently supporting Chair Cindy Pao and [...]

Thu, Mar 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Does your organization have documents, spreadsheets and other forms of content scattered in various locations? A work environment where each person keeps “notes” on how to do a procedure, fix a problem, or workarounds for existing issues? Knowledge you don't …

The post How to Create a Knowledge Base with MadCap Flare that Your Users Will Love appeared first on MadBlog: The Official Blog of MadCap Software.

[...]
Thu, Mar 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Recently, the STC membership department had a contest to give away $50 Amazon gift cards to those who joined STC or renewed their 2017 membership, and we're pleased to announce the winners!

The winners of the $50 Amazon gift card are:

New Member: Hannah Barker
Renewing Member: Joseph Morton

Congratulations to our winners, and thanks to all who activated their 2017 membership! If you aren't a current member of STC, it's not too late to activate your 2017 membership! Please visit us online here.

Questions? Contact the membership department at membership@nullstc.org or call +1 (703) 522-4114.

The post Announcing the [...]

Thu, Mar 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source
I won't bore you with the tale that prompted this entry. Suffice to say, I'm not perfect. Odds are, you aren't either. The question is, what do you do when you make an error in the unforgiving environment of social … Continue reading → [...]
Thu, Mar 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Designing for healthcare is difficult enough without the added complexity of internal politics, governance, and issues of content ownership. Yet many healthcare organizations deal with exactly that: a tangled maze of landmines and other surprises. Luckily, UX Booth's Marli Mesibov has been in the trenches, and she's returned to share her lessons learned.

As a practicing content strategist and user experience professional, UX Booth's own editorial director Marli Mesibov has been through the ringer. And coming up in Las Vegas on Thursday, April 6th at the Health IT Marketing & PR Conference (HITMC), she's excited to share some of [...]

Thu, Mar 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source

I had no idea there were so many typography apps, but there are enough that the Creative Blog has assembled a list of the 28 best. Althogh the article refers to apps, some of these are either web-based or OS-specific and will run on computers as well as portable devices.

[...]
Thu, Mar 23, 2017, Continue reading at the source
adventures in the alt-doc universe. Knight photo by Niall Gallagher on Flickr.com

“An adventure is only an inconvenience rightly considered.”

― G.K. Chesterton

I usually think of tech writers and the work that we do in two ways:

We are paladins, girded in truth, on a crusade against ignorance. Wielding a potent combination of communication skills, process, and technology, we enable user success and engender delight in our product. We are skilled and earnest surgeons in a documentation M*A*S*H unit. While under constant fire of doc requests from all quarters, we quickly triage content and apply communication skills, process, and technology like flashing scalpels, patching up our content and sending it back to the front lines [...]
Wed, Mar 22, 2017, Continue reading at the source

This month, Microsoft has added Microsoft Teams to Office 365. It's a instant messaging collaboration tool, similar to Slack. Teams contains the T-Bot, which provides help and assistance to users. Users can watch videos: They can read online Help: They can read an FAQ: They can ask the T-Bot a question and receive an answer. The T-Bot …

Continue reading "The T-Bot: A new Help model from Microsoft"

The post The T-Bot: A new Help model from Microsoft appeared first on The Cherryleaf Blog.

[...]
Tue, Mar 21, 2017, Continue reading at the source

By Payman Taei | Founder, Visme


Image Source

Make no mistake: it's a data-based world, we're just living in it. According to Forbes, data volumes are absolutely exploding – in the past two years alone, more data was created than in all of the previous years in human history COMBINED.

By as soon as 2020, there will be roughly 1.7 megabytes of new data created for every single person living on Earth every SECOND. This is due largely to the fact that nearly everything you buy is now connected to the Internet – from that great new smart TV to [...]

Tue, Mar 21, 2017, Continue reading at the source

“An effective content strategist has to know enough about everything from editorial tone to HTML to analytics. A content strategist is the one who can go up the ranks and become the head of a digital team because they are the ones who work the most often across all aspects of digital production and management.” —Anonymous survey respondent

For over eight years, Jeffrey Zeldman and other thought leaders in the design community have been telling us how important content is to design thinking, marketing, and communications.

Yet too often, having someone in charge of content is seen as a luxury [...]

Tue, Mar 21, 2017, Continue reading at the source

We spotted an interesting statement by the “Father of Behaviour Design”, BJ Fogg: “For somebody to do something – whether it's buying a car, checking an email, or doing 20 press-ups – three things must happen at once. The person must want to do it, they must be able to, and they must be prompted to …

Continue reading "Getting users to read the Help rather than call support"

The post Getting users to read the Help rather than call support appeared first on The Cherryleaf Blog.

[...]
Tue, Mar 21, 2017, Continue reading at the source

HIRED, where companies apply to you. Over 6,000 innovative companies are looking for you on Hired. Get Hired today.

[...]
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Last week, we used the Hemmingway app to highlight any unclear pages on our main website. The app highlighted four pages where we'd used the passive voice or very long sentences. The first inclination was to think our readers are cleverer, our content is more technical, it's not possible to rewrite those parts. We found, of course, we …

Continue reading "Using Hemmingway on our website"

The post Using Hemmingway on our website appeared first on The Cherryleaf Blog.

[...]
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Agile Authoring methodology: Learning from Lean You'll find the other recordings on the Agile The Docs webpage.

The post Video recording from the Agile The Docs conference appeared first on The Cherryleaf Blog.

[...]
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

At UX Booth, we've often written about how important user research is, for any and all design decisions. Now, it's time to put our money where our mouth is. We're looking for readers who can give us their input! If you're interested in being a usability participant, please let us know (details below).

The UX Booth homepage has been good to us. It's attractive, and we've been happy to be associated with it. It's also simple and uncomplicated. But lately, we've found ourselves looking for something more. Something exciting, and challenging. Something spontaneous, that would run off to Paris with us [...]

Mon, Mar 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source
A new customer called this past week to explain his needs. He's a friend, so the conversation occasionally drifted into personal items as expected. However, one thing I noticed after checking my clock was that the initial call about work … Continue reading → [...]
Mon, Mar 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source
gravestone with statue coming out of grave

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

In 2013, I wrote that PDF is not dead. Four years later, it's still too early write the obituary.

Do PDF files work well on phones and tablets? Nope, but PDF files still have their uses (and even a fan base), so we can't just stop providing them:

You can't force your customers to happily rely on new output formats when you've supplied just PDF content for the past umpteen releases. This is particularly true if contracts or industry regulations specify how you provide content. If you have a legal requirement to [...]

Mon, Mar 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

Kim Stanley Robinson's New York 2140 is out now and based on early reviews, you want to buy it. His last novel, Aurora, was the best SF novel of 2015 and this one looks to be equally good, based on early reviews. I am going to buy it, although it may be a couple of months before I get to reading it.

It's 2140 and trillions of dollars' worth of the world's most valuable real estate is now submerged under fifty feet of water, resulting from two great “surges” where runaway polar melting created sudden, punctuated [...]

Mon, Mar 20, 2017, Continue reading at the source

The dark rainy evening of March 8 saw a number of people take shelter at Allegro Café to meet for the Tech Comm Café.

After some enthusiastically received announcements regarding upcoming workshops and volunteer meetings, the group introduced themselves.

With a mix of seasoned technical writers and people new to the field, the theme of the night was definitely sharing tips, tricks, and challenges of the trade.

Questions about locally available education options spurred a discussion on what to look for from a technical writing program. Some members preferred more hands-on learning with specific software, while others found theory and coaching on writing [...]

Sat, Mar 18, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Ben Woelk, Information Security Office Program Manager at the Rochester Institute of Technology, will lead a webinar for STC RMC's April 2017 program. For information and to register for the webinar, please visit our registration site. How long have you been in technical … Continue reading → [...]
Sat, Mar 18, 2017, Continue reading at the source

By Chris Hester | STC Fellow and CPTC accredited trainer

Not too long ago, a friend asked what my biggest accomplishment was for 2016. That was a tough one. I incorporated my business, spoke at a couple of events, and completed the Certified Professional Technical Communicator (CPTC) Foundation Certification. I also became an accredited CPTC trainer.

My friend, who is a recruiter, asked me to explain. What does that mean? What is that certification?

So I did. The CPTC program is a three-tiered certification program: Foundation, Practitioner, and Expert. Starting with Foundation, each tier builds on the previous one, setting standards [...]

Fri, Mar 17, 2017, Continue reading at the source

MadWorld 2017 is just around the corner! Returning to the Hard Rock Hotel in the historic Gaslamp Quarter, the premiere technical communication and content strategy conference gives attendees a unique learning and networking experience like no other. Whether you're looking …

The post MadWorld 2017 Speaker Series Q&A: Karen Miller, CMS Specialist, Competitive Capabilities International appeared first on MadBlog: The Official Blog of MadCap Software.

[...]
Thu, Mar 16, 2017, Continue reading at the source

As a practicing professional and an educator in the technical communications field, Joe Welinske uses years of first-hand experience to evaluate the tools and practices that are evolving how we produce content. In our recent Fast 5 interview, Joe assessed the Adobe Technical Communications Suite (2017 Release) and how the tools we use impact our work in tech comm, user assistance, and related fields.

1. Tell us your impressions of the 2017 releases of FrameMaker, RoboHelp and the Technical Communication Suite. Any favorite new features?

Joe has used the tools in the Adobe Technical Communication Suite for many years, [...]

Thu, Mar 16, 2017, Continue reading at the source

STC is seeking student volunteers for the 2017 Summit, 7-10 May in National Harbor, Maryland. Student volunteers play an important role in assisting STC staff and the conference committee with Summit logistics. Volunteer positions include room monitors, registration clerks, and badge checkers. For volunteer position descriptions and requirements, click here. This document will help volunteers to know what will be expected of them before they complete the application and come to the Summit.

Volunteers receive complimentary registration (a $200 value) for the Summit. This enables them to visit the Exhibit Hall, attend all the receptions, enjoy the coffee breaks and [...]

Thu, Mar 16, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Kristina posing with a T-Rex

Life as a consultant requires a lot of creative thinking. And by “creative,” I don't mean artsy. We have to be crafty to get things done on budget and on time. More often than not, user research and usability testing get deprioritized in favor of features. But this doesn't mean we can't and shouldn't do what we can with what little we have. And that's what I'll be speaking about it at this year's Nonprofit Technology Conference.

The company I'm with affords me the opportunity to work with a lot of nonprofit and government clients. It's incredibly rewarding: the [...]

Thu, Mar 16, 2017, Continue reading at the source
Whether you're a freelance writer with multiple customers or a staff writer with multiple projects, you might occasionally feel your mental gears grinding as you shift from one project to another. I have a few suggestions for keeping your brain from wearing … Continue reading → [...]
Thu, Mar 16, 2017, Continue reading at the source

No one yet knows what impact Brexit will have on how UK businesses operate. It seems very likely that the way they export will change. There is a good chance there will be forms to fill in, and other steps to complete, in order to get goods, services and people across borders. This will mean policies …

Continue reading "Brexit – Managing the impact on your policies and procedures"

The post Brexit – Managing the impact on your policies and procedures appeared first on The Cherryleaf Blog.

[...]
Thu, Mar 16, 2017, Continue reading at the source