About Ellis Pratt

Ellis Pratt is Sales and Marketing Director at Cherryleaf. You can follow Ellis on Twitter. Cherryleaf helps you provide technical and user documentation your customers will love - through our content development, recruitment, consultancy and training services. See the main Cherryleaf web site for more details.

The Cherryleaf newsletters – what do analytics tell us?

We recently shared some statistics* on newsletter with a partner, and took the opportunity to compare those figures with some industry benchmarks.

MailChimp publishes email marketing benchmarking statistics, as does Smart Insights. Based on those benchmarks, we have a slightly above average open rate and a significantly above average clickthrough rate. With the Cherryleaf newsletter, our goal is to send people useful content. So the figures suggest the content is of interest to our community.

There seems little point is sending out newsletters if they are not of value to the audience. So it’s important we include the right content. If you have some suggestions on how our newsletter could be improved, then do let us know.

* We never share names or email addresses.

New Technical Author vacancy in Cheshire #4156

Our client is looking to recruit a permanent Technical Author to join a team of writers that provides global support documentation for its range of scientific products.

You’ll be part of the team that creates and updates service-related information for scientific instrument equipment. You’ll be involved in the installation procedures, as well as maintenance and diagnostics of the internal hardware and electronics.

For more information, see Job: #4156 Technical Author, Cheshire

What should be on our roadmap for training courses in technical communications?

We thought it would be useful to reflect on our plans for topics and courses in technical communications. In the past, some of the best suggestions have come from customers and prospects; it’s great to pick up useful ideas from others.

Today, you’ll find classroom or elearning training courses in:

We have a separate roadmap for business writing courses, which is where our policies and procedures training course (and again, Introduction to content strategy) fits in.

Our current thinking is to offer more topics around managing and planning technical documentation projects. In the past, we’ve offered an course on estimating projects. We also know managing project time is another important topic. Perhaps there are other topics that would fit under this category?

There’s also the issue of which courses should be online (recorded) courses, and which ones should be classroom-based (live) courses. Delegates say really like the two training venues we use in central London (we struck gold there), but online courses enable people to take a course pretty much anywhere and at any time.

If you have any thoughts, you can email us your thoughts, or you can use the comment box below.

The sad case of GDS and the tax manuals

The UK’s Government Digital Service has been doing great work in putting users’ needs before the needs of government, so it was a shock to see the revised tax manuals the GDS and HMRC published recently.

In the GDS blog post, First HMRC manual on GOV.UK – give us your feedback, Till Worth explained:

“HMRC has built a new publishing system which makes it easier for its tax experts to update and maintain the content of the manuals. Tax agents, accountants and specialists need to be able to see the tax manuals exactly how HMRC publishes them internally, so the GDS team knew we couldn’t touch the content. We did create a new design for the manuals to make them more user-friendly and bring them in line with GDS design principles.”

From what I can see, there’s been two changes:

  1. New look and feel
  2. Changes to the navigation and search

Continue reading

TCeurope webinar: The changing nature of User Assistance content​

Next week, Ellis will be presenting an updated version of his presentation on the changing nature of User Assistance content​. This webinar is part of the TCeurope 2015 Colloquium. TCeurope is a European society bringing together six technical communication societies.

We’ll explore whether the common technical communication practices, which were established and have remained essentially unchanged since the late 1980s, are still valid today.

This free webinar will be presented on 26th March 2015 between 7:30 pm – 8:30 pm CET (6:30pm-7:30 GMT).

We’re updating our technical writing induction course in the next few days

In the next few days, people taking Cherryleaf’s technical writing induction course will be able to access an updated version of it.

As part of the course’s accreditation by the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators, we received their feedback on the course content. We decided to update the course to incorporate the suggestions they made when the course was re-accredited last year. We also amended the course so that some of the modules could be used in other courses.

You’ll find new video recordings and some new exercises. Approximately 10% of the learning content has been changed. The final steps are for us to publish the new course notes, upload all the new content to our shopping cart, and update the relevant page on our website. We’ll make the old and the new versions available to any existing students, so no-one misses out.

Contract Technical Authors req’d – Potential 6 month project starting in June

We’ve had an enquiry from someone looking for 1-2 Technical Authors to help out on a potential project which would start in June. The content will be created using Word and FrameMaker, and ideally you will have skills in using both applications.

They are looking for Technical Authors with:

  1. Experience of military land vehicles and/or their components, including IT hardware and software.
  2. Experience of documentation relating to submarines and surface ships.

You need to have a track record of at least 18 months technical authoring. Please send us your CV, plus details on on what your day rates would be if offered a 6-month contract.