Users' Advocate

Users’ Advocate: Where Have All the Users Gone?

As I begin my stewardship of the Users' Advocate column, I think it is important to begin by asking, where have all the users gone? Thirty years ago, tech comm had a more or less captive audience. If users wanted information on your product, they looked at the manual. They didn't have much choice. Today, when the user has a question or encounters a problem with your product, the first thing they do is to Google it. Continue reading ...

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It’s Time for a New Doctrine of Technical Communications

There is little doubt that technical communications is in crisis.Tech Comm 2.0 is what we have now, the result of a profound change in technical communications doctrine that occurred in the 80s and 90s. What we need now is a new doctrine of technical communications, a Tech Comm 3.0. The old tech comm doctrine is publication-based, but most technical communication taking place today is conversation-based. Not only does this affect the way tech comm should think about mechanical purity, it should also change the way it thinks about project scope. Continue reading ...

Recommended: Top Five on Autonumbering with Word

The autonumbering feature in Word has been the bane of every technical writer who's been forced to work only in the ubiquitous word processor since the last century. We stumbled across a really useful guide to autonumbering put together by our colleagues at Publishing Smarter, and we felt obligated to pass it along to TechWhirlers. The article provides a cogent, comprehensive look at how to work with the feature to produce documentation that gets read. Continue reading ...

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How to Choose a Translation Vendor for Tech Comm Projects

When a company identifies a need for documentation to be translated into new languages for both existing customers and new customers it is important to ensure you choose the right translation vendor. In doing so, it is necessary to identify options (with associated costs and risks) for meeting current demands, processes for handling future translation requests, and a big-picture strategy for documentation translation needs across product lines and worldwide needs. Continue reading ...

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Technical Communications Poll: Demonstrating the Value of Tech Comm

This week's technical communications poll that asks what methods you use to demonstrate the value of technical communications. ROI or customer satisfaction metrics? Internal reporting? Nothing or something else we haven't mentioned? We invite you to take a minute and vote--multiple answers are allowed--and post a comment to add to this essential discussion. Continue reading ...

MeetingKing Web-Based Meeting Workflow and Documentation Tool

Paracas Solutions announced the availability of MeetingKing, a new web-based solution to manage and document in-person and remote meetings.  MeetingKing replaces the typical combination of email, word processing and task management tools with a single tool “built around the natural workflow of meetings.” The application captures and archives notes, tasks, and documents and automatically compiles […] Continue reading ...

Building the Business Case for Technical Communicators by Leveraging Talent, Skills and Passion

Corey Ganser is enthusiastic about how customer support should be and how his company, MindTouch excels at providing exceptional help service products to popular companies such as HP, PayPal, Toyota, Mozilla, Autodesk, even Microsoft. At LavaCon, Corey shared his insights on how technical communicators must demonstrate to managers that they are a strategic component and valuable asset to the company: in marketing, revenue, documentation, and technical support. Continue reading ...

Business and Technical Communication News by TechWhirl

Tech Writer This Week: January 12, 2012

Every week, TechWhirl reviews and collects eye-catching posts, industry news and anything that we like from technical communications (and beyond). This week includes a few more predictions and trends to watch, tips and techniques, wide-ranging commentary on content curation, and a couple of thoughts on the business of writing. Continue reading ...