Adaptive Technologies for the Visually Impaired: The Role of Technical Communicators

Editor’s Note: The following piece by Eric and Deb Ray is part of our collection of “classics”–articles that stand the test of time no matter how many technologies come and go.  This excerpt is from an original article reprinted with permission from Technical Communication, the journal of the Society for Technical Communication. Originally published in November 1998 […] Continue reading ...

Knowing When to Upgrade Software

Software upgrades generally do two things: Offer you new or improved features, and fix bugs present in existing versions. Whether you upgrade will depend on your need for the new or improved features, depend on whether you experience problems because of software bugs, and, of course, depend on your budget. Continue reading ...

Understanding Graphic File Formats

Identifying and fixing problems with graphics often comes down to a brief reminder of what the various kinds of graphic formats are and how to use each of them when they're the most appropriate--not merely most convenient--for the technical communications situation you're facing. Continue reading ...

Techie Technical Writer Series, Part I: Being a Techie Writer

What's the difference between a "technical" writer and a technical "writer"? Depends on who you ask, but it can often be measured in tens of thousands of dollars annually, dramatically reduced frustration in working with developers and engineers, freedom to work more independently, effectively, and efficiently than you thought possible, and even in the ability to telecommute or freelance more readily. Continue reading ...

Techie Technical Writer Series, Part II: Becoming a Techie Writer

Just for perspective, I'm writing this not as a techie who thinks he knows the secrets, but rather as an inveterate geek who nonetheless started his first technical writing job with minimal (inadequate) proficiency with Word Perfect 4.2 and his second with a hazy notion at best of what a network might actually be. As a matter of fact, in my first technical writing job, I spent hours reformatting text because I didn't know how to use table cells to make text align properly, and I had to be forcefully dragged into using styles rather than a simple formatting (Shift-F5, I believe) command. That said, I'm now a reasonably techie technical writer ... Continue reading ...