Key Concept Archive

The future is decided by your actions today

How do you know what the future holds? How do you know what to do to make sure you’re ready for it? Do you invest in skills? Do you buy a tool? Take a class? What? How do you prepare for the future when you don’t know what’s there? Some…

Always be learning

You can learn interesting things that apply directly to you…from a totally different discipline. Recently, I was reading a story about Board Game Designers. I may be a board game geek, but that’s not why the story was interesting. The story was more about UI/UX and things that technical writers…

Techniques for keeping up in your profession

Every year there are hundreds of “trends” articles. Trends don’t matter. What matters is whether something is appropriate to your customer and your company’s mission. More important, then, is not knowing what trend is coming but knowing how to keep your eyes open so that when a new need arises,…

Get Trained on Arbortext Styler — from someone who cares about you

We’re launching a series of online training sessions designed to facilitate better Stylesheet design using Arbortext Styler. Why? Well, if you saw my outburst on Facebook, you can probably guess the reason. Sadly, this kind of thing happens to us all the time. And the customers just keep coming and coming….

From Open Source Volunteer to Full-Time Tech Writer

In this talk, Gale describes a little bit about what open source software is and how she used her volunteer experience as an Apache Taverna committer to become a technical writer at Facebook. She describes the tangible and intangible skills she gained, as well as how she got noticed when…

Same mess, different tools – Liz Fraley on the Content Content Podcast

b Post Summary In her interview, Liz Fraley talks in detail about the history of structured authoring and how her opinions have changed over 17 years in the technical writing industry. Last month I had the opportunity to talk with Ed Marsh of the Content Content podcast. I’ve known Ed…

Topic Based Writing: Future-Proofing Your Content?

This is what we’ll cover: Topic-Based writing: the basics The nature of a topic Topic morphology: title, short description (optionally) and content The importance of conceptual consistency Topic-Based writing: content creation and management Standing alone versus story telling A theory of content architecture? Relationship to DITA and structured writing Governance…

Teaching Martians to make a sandwich–How Technical Writers can improve patient safety

There’s a well-known exercise to experienced technical writers: How do you teach a Martian to make a sandwich. It’s so well known that we talk about it as an exercise in best practices for user experience and modern instructional design. In the last few years, this exercise has become a…

Writing (Non-Agile) Business Requirements

Writing requirements requires the ability to write clearly, concisely, and succinctly so others can design, develop, and test the product. This session covers 8 characteristics of writing a good requirement, reviews 4 steps to requirements gathering, and concludes with 17 tips for writing good requirements. Come and learn how to…

Do you treat your career like a profession?

b Post Summary There’s only you to hold you accountable, to make sure you meet your business and revenue goals. You can apply the same skills business owners, consultants, and executives use to advance their business to advance your career. Do you treat your career like a profession or do…