TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for June 20, 2014

technical communication recapYou may be able to tell that we’re pretty excited about our new project—the Customer Experience Recognition Awards (CERA). Between the company blog, the news release, and the invitation to the email discussion list, we’ve been working hard to get the word out. CERA 2014 seems to us to be a great intersection between all the disciplines that we cover, because the awards recognize the role content plays in customer experience.  That’s technical content, support content, and the product and marketing content essential to the purchase and use of products or services in a media-rich world. Whether you camp out in the technical writing world, or hike around between the knowledge base, the marketing campaigns and the user communities, your content contributions matter, and we want to recognize your work.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I love making connections between things that are important to me—no matter how tenuous.  While we launched the awards program this week, an interesting discussion thread appeared on the email list. Kevin McLaughlin’s “What’s Not Mandated Is Forbidden” thread sparked some debate on whether useful, but not necessarily essential, information should be included in technical docs. Replies so far have included some mentions on how such information is more marketing oriented, and therefore shouldn’t be included.  Such distinctions become less clear every day, as companies recognize the importance of the whole customer experience. Feel free to add to the discussion—all points of view are welcome and relevant.

In the meantime, take a look at our articles on DITA and resume building, and check out what’s hot across the web in the worlds of tech comm, content strategy, and customer experience. And don’t forget to vote in the current poll, and add your two cents on tech comm as craft or commodity.

I used to say “it’s all Marketing” when talking about tech comm and its role in the business. Now I think I must evolve to “It’s all Customer Experience Management.” It’s long but it kinda has a ring to it…

Have a great weekend!

-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl

And the Winner is ...

And the Winner is …

Tech Writer This Week for June 19, 2014

The best technical communication, content strategy and customer experience management articles on the web.


The Help Files: Resume Special

My latest collection of tips and tricks for making your work life more productive focuses on the biggest change you can make in your work life–finding a new job–and the ever present need for a resume. As fantastic a networking tool as LinkedIn is, don’t believe all the hype that it has replaced the resume as the primary tool for job hunting. You still need a resume.

 DITA-Darwin Information Typing Architecture

What Does DITA Look Like?

For authors and others embarking on implementation of Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA), it can be very helpful to get a preview of exactly what you’ll be working with before the implementation gets underway. This article answers the typical question authors have: what does DITA look like?


Customer Experience Recognition Awards & Dinner Debuts at Information Development World

The Customer Experience Recognition Awards, or CERAs, will debut at a reception and dinner on October 23, 2014, in conjunction with the Information Development World (iDW) conference.

 painter-pantone palletes-sm

Tech Comm as Craft or Commodity (poll)

Are we really moving to “commodified writing” for technical information, or does effective content require a master of the craft of technical communication? Time for a vote and some more debate

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