MadCap Flare 9

TechWhirl First Look: Madcap Flare 9

As usual, MadCap has listened to the users and made great updates to their flagship authoring tool, Flare 9. If you have never used any version of MadCap Flare before, this program is a must if you’re attempting any kind of single sourcing project. If you’re already a Flare fan, you may find that upgrading from version 8 just makes a good thing even better. Continue reading ...

freelancing_leap_fishbowl-sm

Technical Communication Captive to Freelancing Consultant

Like most thinking about the leap to fulltime freelancing, I had the dream of working at the local coffee shop sipping hot chocolate and working hard on the latest software documentation. My phone would ring with a new client that saw my website and just had to have my services. Then I made the plunge into freelancing while caring for my newborn, and had to wake up from that lovely dream. Continue reading ...

observers-sm

Technical Writers and End Users: How Close Is Too Close?

As technical writers, our main goal often is to write instructions so the end user will understand how to use the product for their specific needs. This sounds easier than it usually is in reality, because the end-user point-of-view is ephemeral and hard to maintain. Many of us are familiar with the argument the longer we spend documenting product, the harder it is to see it from the end-user perspective. On the other side is another argument, if we have no contact with users, it’s infinitely more difficult to write appropriately for them. So this begs the question: How close should a technical writer be to an end user to properly write instructions for them? Continue reading ...