TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for June 7, 2013

technical communication recap for June 7Sometimes we forget that not everyone in our circles—whether work, friends or family—has the knowledge and expertise on a given subject. While you energetically discuss compression settings and dpi for your latest tome, the newbie of the group has that deer in the headlights look that means you’ve gone right over her head. Or you’re the newbie, trying desperately to get a grasp of the downstream impacts of data quality threshold testing, and what that means to your workload. During really tough weeks you’re both newbie and SME.

Seems like a good time for TechWhirl recap, considering the great features and commentary we were able to bring to you. TechWhirl provided a lot for both newbie and SME. Geoff Hart started the week with an informative introduction to effective infographics. Tech comm SMEs could vote in and comment on our poll about your CMS must-have features.  And Yehoshua Paul dove into print outputs, what’s available and best practices this tech comm content delivery medium that so many of us still rely on to some extent.  Craig Cardimon curated another fascinating set of posts from thought leaders in tech comm, content strategy, user experience and customer experience in Tech Writer This Week.

After a bumpy start to the week, the email discussion list also contributed to the education factor with great discussions on comparing various help authoring tools, structured to unstructured FrameMaker, and 1099 to W-2 contracting (U.S. income tax reporting options, for those outside the U.S.).

So if it’s education that you want, or merely a quick reminder of some key facts, we’ve got what you’re looking for.

Have a great weekend!

-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl

 Tech Writer This Week

Tech Writer This Week for June 6, 2013

Hope all our US readers had a relaxing and reflective Memorial Day Holiday. As everyone gets back to work after the long weekend, Tech Writer This Week offers easy servings of tech comm views and commentary. Then it’s on to a hearty helping of content strategy, with a side of customer experience management and garnished with a smattering of user experience. And it’s all calorie-free food for thought…

 publishing technical content - print outputs

Publishing Technical Content Part 1: Overview of Print Outputs

Technical writers tend to write a lot. There is a lot of information out there that needs to be communicated, and many different methods for channeling this content to the various end users. Your end-users belong to one or more of many different target audiences each with their own unique needs, and channels through which they consume information. Plenty of people still prefer to read newspapers, magazines, books, and even technical manuals – which can end up being printed due to a wide range of factors.

 must-have CMS features

Technical Communication Poll: Must-Have CMS Features

We’ve kept a close eye on two Techwr-l email discussion list threads in particular over the last week or so: DaLy’s “CMS solution needed – Feedback wanted,” and Steve Janoff’s “Managing a Collection of Documents”. Now these were threads we could sink our teeth into, having looked for a publishing alternative after taking over TechWhirl in 2011, and having tons of consulting and wage slave experience with numerous kludged together “solutions” for managing content in various forms.

 effective infographics

Effective Infographics: Telling Stories in the Technical Communication Context

The word infographic is a portmanteau created by jamming together two words: information that you want to convey in a graphic form. Bar graphs and their cousins primarily present numbers. An infographic informs—it helps the viewer to translate raw data into meaningful information, and the accuracy of the data is less important than the accuracy of the message.

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Connie Giordano

Connie Giordano is a partner in INKtopia Limited and editor of TechWhirl's Tech Writer Today online magazine. She has been a list member and contributor since the days when 14,400 baud was high speed communications, and Windows 95 was state-of-the-art.

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