• Welcome to the TC Dojo
    From the creators, producers, and host of Arbortext Monster Garage and TC Camp!
  • Looking for the Mastermind?
    Exclusive, member-driven discussions of the topics on your mind today

How does it work?

There are three ways to learn at the Dojo:

Upcoming Sessions

  • TC Dojo Mastermind Session

    • Audience: All levels
    • TC Dojo Mastermind Group (Members Only)

    Get that networking experience you need without having to travel to get it!

    Share your expertise with others, while they share theirs with you. Discuss your challenges and solicit advice that applies to your unique situation.

    The Mastermind provides an opportunity for discussion in a confidential, supportive environment. Network with your peers and benefit from each other's experiences.

    Join the TC Dojo Mastermind Group ›

    Unhappy customers are Just the Beginning - Part 2

    Joseph Devney, Visiting Dojo Master

    • TC Dojo Open Session
    • Audience: B - Beginner
    • Cost: Free

    Part 2: Examples and stories about companies that have skimped on the documentation.

    A perennial question in the technical communication community is how to justify our work in financial terms that management will understand. One partial answer is to consider potential consequences of putting insufficient resources into technical documentation. What happens if the material is poorly written, or not written at all? Consequences can range from unhappy customers to wasted employee time to debilitating lawsuits—and worse. Joseph Devney uses statistics and real-life examples to illustrate some of the risks of having inadequate documentation.

    Joseph Devney, M.A., is an STC Fellow and president of the Berkeley chapter. He has seen his share of bad documentation, and done his best to improve it. Joe has been a guest speaker at several STC chapters and for other organizations, and taught document design at San Francisco State University

    Register ›

    TC Dojo Mastermind Session

    • Audience: All levels
    • TC Dojo Mastermind Group (Members Only)

    Get that networking experience you need without having to travel to get it!

    Share your expertise with others, while they share theirs with you. Discuss your challenges and solicit advice that applies to your unique situation.

    The Mastermind provides an opportunity for discussion in a confidential, supportive environment. Network with your peers and benefit from each other's experiences.

    Join the TC Dojo Mastermind Group ›

Did you miss the last session?

Tools play an important role in how we write and organize content. Every tool encapsulates certain ideas about content organization and information architecture. This may not have been obvious when we were producing books because the design and architecture of books was so standardized and conventional that every tools essentially had the same model. Now, however, we have a variety of tools that encapsulate significantly different approaches to content organization and information architecture. If you want to create an information architecture that is different from the one your tools was designed for, you may need to put significant conscious effort into how to achieve that new architecture with your existing tool – or else change to a tool better suited to the architecture you want to create.

Most of the tools that technical writers have traditionally used, whether it be unstructured tools like Word, FrameMaker, or help-authoring tools, or structured vocabularies such as DocBook and DITA, were designed for top-down information architecture. We also have unstructured bottom-up tools available to us in the form of wikis and blogging platforms such as WordPress. This third session in the Information Architecture Bottom-up series will look at how various tools impact content design and information architecture and will introduce you to SPFE (“Spiffy”), a structured approach to writing and organizing content with a bottom-up information architecture.

Visiting Dojo Master

Mark Baker is a twenty-five-year veteran of the technical communication industry, with particular experience in developing task-oriented, topic-based content, and technical communication on the Web. He has worked as a technical writer, a publications manager, a structured authoring consultant and trainer, and as a designer, architect, and builder of structured authoring systems. It is his firm belief that the future of Technical Communications lies on the Web, and that to be successful on the Web, we cannot simply publish traditional books or help systems on the Web, we must create content that is native to the Web.