What do we want?

Reading time: 2 mins

At TCUK12 this year, I chatted with several people about authoring tools. Vendors, other technical writers, managers, I asked the same two questions, again and again. What authoring application do you use, and why do you use it? The answers were illuminating, interesting and always useful. There are many, many options out there, catering to…

TCUK 12

Reading time: 3 mins

The time has come, so Gordon said, to talk of many things, of slides and chats, and learning facts, and something else that rhymes but I’m rubbish at poetry (with sincere apologies to Lewis Carroll). Enough of that though, what I want to talk about is the Technical Communications Conference 2012 (TCUK12) and why you…

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Technology vs Emotion

Reading time: < 1 min

Random thought: Has the rise of (talk of) emotional content (affective assistance) been driven by the concentration, over the last few years, on technological solutions? Single sourcing, XML, DITA, DocBook, and all the rest have (rightly) taken our profession forward, so I guess it’s natural that the general trends, as well as refocussing on the…

Does single sourcing content work?

Reading time: 3 mins

One of the more popular posts on this blog is titled DITA is not the answer and, whilst things are certainly moving forward, it’s a little sad that it is still valid. A recent comment on that post suggested that it’s not just DITA that is lacking, it’s the working realities of single source that…

How do we structure our topics?

Reading time: 3 mins

I’ve waffled on about single source and our plans for long enough so, as we are finally starting the process itself, I thought I’d capture some information as we go along. However, it’s probably good to set the scene, so I’ll cover that stuff first. Over time you’ll be able to see all the posts…

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How do we move to single source?

Reading time: 2 mins

I’ve waffled on about single source and our plans for long enough so, as we are finally starting the process itself, I thought I’d capture some information as we go along. However, it’s probably good to set the scene, so I’ll cover that stuff first. Over time you’ll be able to see all the posts…

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Thoughts on HATT Survey thoughts

Reading time: 3 mins

Tom Johnson has had a look at the survey recently published by the HATT matrix website on help authoring and, by pulling in the results of some other surveys in the same area, has extrapolated some good conclusions from them. He rightly points out that surveys need to be taken with a pinch of salt…

UA Conference Notes – Day 1

Reading time: 3 mins

Notes and thoughts from Day 1 of the User Assistance Conference Session 1 – Tony Self – Emerging Help Delivery Technologies It’s been quite a while since I heard Tony speak but as ever he provided an entertaining, if somewhat limited, presentation. Covering the various types of help viewing technologies he nicely summarised some of…

Promoting DITA without promoting DITA

Reading time: 2 mins

Recently Scott Abel posted a heartfelt plea to get people all psyched up about how to better promote DITA to the rest of the world. He backs the idea of the DITA Adoption Technical Committee, stating that: “we need excellent communicators with the gumption, know-how, and network to get the word out about the many…

Hi there

Reading time: < 1 min

A quick welcome to anyone visiting from the ISTC Communicator magazine. I feel a little spoiled getting two mentions in subsequent pages (10 & 12 if you are wondering) but I’m not really complaining. Over the past year or so I’ve definitely got the feeling that the ISTC is changing, and it certainly feels like…

Recently Read

Reading time: 2 mins

I’m utterly failing in my attempt to make this a weekly feature on this site. Maybe I should cut it down a little, thoughts and comments are appreciated. Writing an Interface Style Guide Some handy tips for what to include in any user interface guidelines document: Interface style guides are extremely useful to define best…

Recently Read

Reading time: 2 mins

A quick note this week: If you know of any blogs out there that focus on hardware documentation writing I’d love to hear about them. I’m keen to see if there are other topics being covered out there as I’m aware that my scope is defined by my current interests. Right, let’s press on. Can…

DITA Maturity Model

Reading time: 2 mins

I mentioned this in passing last week but having had a little time to delve into the model in a little more depth I thought it was worth re-visiting. The DITA Maturity Model as an organic model that is still being developed. Rather smartly it’s presented in Wiki format allowing anyone who is interested to…

Only the good die young

Reading time: 2 mins

One of the reasons DITA has gained so much traction in such a short space of time is that the people behind it are taking advantage of the internet to publicise and drive it forward. With that in mind it’s great to see them open the new DITA Maturity Model out to the community: This…

Recently Read

Reading time: 2 mins

Blimey, another week has flown past and, as ever a few things have caught my eye. 9 ways to gather user feedback It’s often a struggle to get true user feedback on your documentation, Craig Haiss offers some suggestions to improve things in this area. Whilst I’ve tried some of these, and had heard of…