TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for August 15, 2014

technical communication recapI’ve been thinking a lot about customer experience this week, from the perspective of a customer—of home improvement, personal training, and veterinary services in particular. The folks on the ground, the ones who deal with the customer face-to-face (or phone-to-phone), have the most challenging jobs ever.

  • The guys (and they were both guys) who came to replace my central A/C system not only had to know an extraordinary amount of technical information (about electricity, motors, coolants, EPA regulations and more), but also how to communicate the essence of that to a particularly uneducated consumer facing a very significant expenditure.
  • I started working with a personal trainer about two months ago… a professional who has to deal with the intricacies of human physiology, maintaining current knowledge of nutrition, and working with a wide variety of clients who may or may not want to be there in the first place. When to push someone a bit further, and when to pull back is not an easy choice to make.
  • Anyone who’s ever owned a pet knows the importance of finding a vet who can treat what needs to be treated, offer recommendations, and the right amount of solace when it’s time to let that furry (or feathered or scaly) member of the family go. It’s an extraordinary combination of scientific knowledge and empathy for animals and their humans.

I don’t know how much instinct, training, or what kind of resources all of these professionals rely on to provide customer service… I do know that, happily for me, all of them know how to create exceptional customer experiences.  They probably consume a fair amount of technical and professional content in performing their jobs, and I wish the folks who created it knew how much people like me appreciate it. These are exactly the kind of content creators who should be recognized with a Customer Experience Recognition Award. If it’s you or someone you know, check out

Our leisurely summertime pace continues, with some useful and relevant articles on agile and tech comm and DITA resources, as well as the latest poll question on content strategy. Take up the commentary, or catch up on some new conversations in the email discussion list,

Have a great weekend!

-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl



Tech Writer This Week for August 15, 2014

The best articles on Tech Comm from around the web.

 DITA-Darwin Information Typing Architecture

DITA Resources

List of great DITA resources that are vendor-neutral to help organizations with discovery, planning, implementation and ongoing maintenance.

 Creating Task-Focused Content - Agile & Tech Comm

Agile and Tech Comm: Task-Focused Content in a Feature-Focused Process

Agile teams often fall into the trap of defining user stories as features, and your content can fall into the same trap—you end up documenting the product, rather than how to solve your users’ problems with the product. Here are some considerations for creating task-focused content.


Content Strategy Versus DITA Content Strategy (poll)

Obviously all three terms–strategy, content, and content strategy–rate a lot of research and debate. Jacquie Samuels’ informative piece on Building a DITA Content Strategy also rated some debate recently, including a worthwhile blog post from Sarah O’Keefe of Scriptorium, which makes a really nice TechWhirl poll question.

Social Media and the Chance to Follow TechWhirl:

Subscribe to TechWhirl via Email