TechWhirl: Technical Communication Recap for December 20, 2013

technical communication recap for July 5I think it’s very cool how the leaders and members of our content and communications communities are filled with the holiday spirit. I had a sliver of doubt, when I invited so many leading lights to tell us what they’d like Santa to bring them, that I would get many replies. After all, these are busy people, with the added pressure of getting stuff done before year-end and participating in the many normal rituals of the season.

No worries.  More than a dozen folks replied, everyone from Kristina Halvorson and Shep Hyken, to JoAnn Hackos and Jack Molisani, to Tom Johnson and Noz Urbina, to many of our intrepid and amazing SWU members. Lots of interesting perspectives on what would make for a great 2014. We invite you to read them all, and comment on your own Holiday Wish List as well. Yes, TechWhirl readers, there is a Santa, and he’s totally into tech comm, content strategy, and customer experience management.

Take another few minutes to read some great content on DITA, findability, and etymology and vote in our poll on learning styles. No holiday deadlines to worry about here. And if there’s a topic you want to see covered, or would like to cover, drop us a note… we want to know what kinds of information you’re looking for to help in your job in the New Year. And you too can be a part of the SWU.

Have a great weekend and a joyous holiday season,

-Connie and the gang at TechWhirl

TechWhirl ChristmasSphere-All I wantDear Santa: All I Want for Christmas 2013:

Happy Holidays to Everyone!

Tech Writer This Week for December 19 2013

No coal in this edition of Tech Writer This Week, just some great articles on technical communication, CXM and Content Management from around the web.

 water of life-s

Word Wise: Etymology Saves the Day

Okay. Suppose you’re at a party. You’d like to start a conversation. Who could resist you as you raise your glass—and one eyebrow—and ask, “Know where the word whiskey comes from?”


DITA and Findability: Big ROI and Radical Improvements to the User Experience

Patrick Bosek of easyDITA believes that DITA offers organizational value beyond the tech comm team, and to prove it he presented an unusual case study. The client was a financial services firm (name withheld) that was experiencing a huge quantity of calls to their help center from a small subset of agents. Because these agents generated very little revenue for the company, the client needed a way to minimize the cost of supporting them.

 Lightweight DITA

Lightweight DITA: a Preview from Michael Priestley

A new buzzword has appeared in the worlds of structured authoring and content reuse–Lightweight DITA. On November 28, Michael Priestley, one of the lead DITA architects and a Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM, gave a presentation to the Toronto Chapter of the STC about Lightweight DITA and how IBM has used DITA as a key part of a 60-million-page knowledge center.


Preferred Ways to Learn (poll)

During the course of their careers, many of our fellow professionals venture down the path to developing educational and training materials–calling it instructional design, curriculum development, elearning, mlearning, or some unique combination thereof. It may be stating the obvious, but getting into some phase of this arena of content and communication requires some understanding of the ways that people acquire knowledge–how do people learn?

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