Key Concept Archive

For more information about how our library science background (and our love of all things metadata) guides the way we catalog information, see the Techcomm and Arbortext Resources page.

Always be learning: Lessons for writing instructions

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…

UI/UX for technical communicators is the theme for TC Summer Camp 2017

I sit on the TC Camp board and am sponsoring the Structured Authoring workshop at TC Summer Camp in DC on September 9th. Every year, we ask what topic people want for the morning workshops. So far only one topic…

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….

Who Are You? (I Really Wanna Know)

“Who is the audience for this project?” runs the risk of a smarty-pants response (“the user”). For a smart answer, take time to define and understand who is reading and using the information you develop. In this TC Dojo session,…

Button, Button, Who’s Got the Button?

Technical writers are paying more attention to UI/UX because documentation is part of the user experience. Technical writers, who explain user interface elements and design how-to documents for user tasks and procedures, know when a design choice will have repercussions. We…

Want to see what kind of software docs engineers celebrate?

I see posts on LinkedIn all the time about training in writing API docs or how best to document software systems. Here in Silicon Valley, it’s the hottest sub-discipline in techcomm. In fact, API docs are so popular, they have an…

12 tips from UX designers that Techcomm folks should know too

Next to API docs, UI/UX is one of the fastest growing sub-domains in technical writing. Not surprising, because documentation contributes to the user experience and explain how to use a product’s user interface.In May, I spotted an article by Robert Hoekman,…

Tell a good story (It’s the shape of the curve that matters)

Seems like everyone is talking about story telling. Last April, it was the theme at the STC Spectrum conference.  At STC Summit in 2015, Nancy Duarte gave the keynote based on research she did for her book, “Resonate: Present Visual Stories…