Tips and Tricks: Getting from Obvious to Valuable Technical Content

Users complain that they are only getting information they already know—and they’re not particularly interested in consuming this “obvious” content. Unfortunately, in the name of rapid production, much content that is written describes the obvious about features, and doesn't do justice to content that is truly valuable to those who want to consume it. Getting away from obvious content is at the heart of producing valuable technical content. Here are five tips to getting to valuable technical content. Continue reading ...

Discovering Your Natural Writing Process: Extraversion vs. Introversion in Technical Writing

Accuracy and precision are critical to the success of a technical communicator. Your goal is to get the material right. But when you’re drafting content, the desire to get it right can keep you from getting it written. Drafts are the time for experimentation, for getting the material out of your head and into the authoring software. Awareness of your natural writing process—either the introverted or the extraverted—allows you to make the most of the draft and revision stages of technical writing. Continue reading ...

technical communication recap

TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for June 29, 2012

One of the busier threads of the last two weeks or soon on the TechWhirl email discussion list was started by Nancy Allison, asking for opinions on the “Most innovative user doc output.” Several Whirlers posted links to the examples they found innovative (it’s always fun to go see what other folks are doing that’s trendy in technical communication). As always there were a variety of opinions on what constituted innovative—tools, technology, output or approach—but the discussions have highlighted a couple of key issues that relate to our June topic on “Skills to survive and thrive” and to the continuing question of what it means to be a technical communicator. Continue reading ...

Crowdsourcing: The New Black?

What’s in a name? To some, the specifics of a name mean absolutely nothing. To others, that same name means absolutely everything. While some believe as Shakespeare wrote: "...a rose by any other name, its smell is sweet...", Technical Writers in general are more attached to their chosen terms. Today's term is "Crowdsourcing." What is it? What is its relevance to technical communication today? And, the bigger question: Why does my iPhone insist on Capitalizing the C? Continue reading ...

technical communication recap

TechWhirl: Technical Communications Recap for April 20, 2012

On TechWhirl this week, we found ourselves deep into discussions about community--or lack thereof. Over on the email discussion list, whirlers are debating the usual assortment of word usage, punctuation, and tool issues. But they're also talking documentation in agile environments; the value of student interviews of professionals to get a handle on breaking into this community; and what constitutes great swag at conferences. Continue reading ...