Always learning

Next week the first of two new recruits joins our team. Both are graduates and whilst neither graduated from a Technical Writing based course they both have a good mix of skills, coming to the position through different routes. It'll be a challenge for them, and a challenge for us, to integrate them to the

Where are the new ideas?

"Imitation is the sincerest of flattery." It's a fine line between imitation and theft but, looking around at other documentation sets recently, it's interesting to see so many common items. Table of contents, numbered lists, signposts and so on. These things exist, and are common, for very good reasons but as we continue to learn

Big plans take time

I'm procrastinating. I've reached a certain point in the work I'm doing that requires the completion of a very large planning spreadsheet. I'm currently looking at all of our content with a view to restructuring it to fit better with the way our customers work hopefully making it easier for people to browse the content.


I recently attended the Glastonbury Festival and, despite the mud and mayhem around me, found myself pondering an issue that we have in our documentation set. Throughout the week I was at the festival I spent a lot of time consulting a map of the festival site, trying to figure out both where I was

Conference chatter

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things..." It's that time of year again, with the UA Conference currently underway (see what people are saying about it on Twitter) and the Technical Communication UK conference just around the corner. We are lucky enough to be able to get to such events,

Where is everyone?

The attendance at last nights ISTC Area Group meeting in the West of Scotland was poor, and as it seems to fluctuate quite dramatically at times (we went from four people to ten and back again in the space of three meetings) I'm trying to figure out why. Is it apathy? Laziness? Lack of awareness?

Points of confusion

What are you thinking when you review documentation? We recently had a short discussion about how peer review, what we thought it was and how it should work. For us, having another member of the documentation team look over your work is useful for several reasons. Whilst we have distinct technical and editorial review stages,

ISTC West of Scotland Area Group meeting

The next ISTC West of Scotland area group meeting in Glasgow will take place on Thursday 9th June 2011, from 7.30 pm onwards. Come along to talk about latest news and trends in communication, or just to meet other communication professionals. The event is free and open to anyone interested in technical communication, such as

Being Social

I've written about social media before, and given presentations on Blogging and the wider use of social media as part of our professional toolbox. But that was mostly with a view to how these new technologies could be used to provide a better service to our customers. So what does social media mean to me,

The slow road to content strategy

I'm always wary of buzzwords and industry fads, and will always take, primarily, a business focused view on any new theory (or strategy) that I hear about until I fully understand its real life application. Such is the case with Content Strategy. It's something I've talked about on here before (under the guise of Information

Piece by piece

Part way through April and the discussions and planning over the past few months look like they are, slowly, starting to come together. The plans are ambitious, not only are we restructuring our information offering to make things easier to find, we are also attempting to change the way we document our product. Moving us

ISTC website

It's official. I'm now the webmaster for the ISTC. Before I start talking about my plans and ideas for the ISTC website, I thought I'd give you all a bit of background as to why I'm reasonably well qualified to be taking this on. It all starts about 16 years ago... I joined a small

Learning from others

Whilst compiling my column for the ISTC newsletter this month (I offer a round up of the 'best' blog posts from the past month, hugely subjective I know) I was worried I'd skewed the resulting list of blog posts somewhat. You see the team I'm part of are about to embark on a couple of

ISTC West of Scotland meeting

The next ISTC technical communicators' meeting in Glasgow will take place on Monday 21st February 2011, from 7.30 pm onwards. Come along to talk about latest news and trends in communication, or just to meet other communication professionals. The event is free and open to anyone interested in technical communication, such as technical authors, information