We will be presenting “Planning user documentation when you are a startup business” at the Technical Communication UK conference in September.
We’ll look at how to plan a user documentation project when you’re working for a startup technology company. Working in this environment gives you the opportunity to work “from a clean sheet,” but it also has its own challenges of working in a dynamic and rapidly changing environment.
We’ll look at the issues around planning user documentation and the additional considerations when you are a startup. Your budget may be limited and the product or service in development may be constantly changing, so how should you work in this situation? What should you be developing, and what is the value of user documentation for a startup?
We will cover:
- What is different about working for a startup
- Lean startup strategies
- The value of user documentation for a startup and why should you provide it
- How to document in this environment
- What you should document
- What you should measure?
- What to do when budgets are limited
- What to do when there is no clear audience
For more information, see Technical Communication UK conference.
Some of us will be at the MadWorld conference next week, which is being held in San Diego. Cherryleaf’s Sales and Marketing Director, Ellis Pratt, will be speaking on both days of the conference. If you’re going to the conference or will be close by, then you’re welcome to come and say hello. Email us to find out our precise schedule and whereabouts.
We’ve just been sent the delegate feedback from my presentation at the Technical Communications UK 2012 conference:
Ellis Pratt – What does the iPad 3 mean for Technical Authors?
Brilliant, very thorough, very comparative, very useful, bit fast through slides – can we have a copy of slides please? … Knows his stuff, makes me want to find out more! … Very enlightening content, expertly delivered. Lots of ‘take away’ information. Very engaging and informative … Excellent informative presentation … Excellent session, plenty of food for thought and more research to be done by me! Ellis knows his subject inside out and is a great resource … Excellent! In-depth understanding of this topic … Really learnt a lot from this … This has been a highlight of the conference for me – incredibly well researched presentation and very up to date. Brilliant, thanks Ellis … Interesting and very useful … Very good – stuffed full of useful info. Very informative, clear and thought provoking … Excellent very informative session. Very informative and useful from a clear and competent expert in his field … Always interesting to hear Ellis’ views. He never tries to sell anything and he always seems to be one step ahead of everyone. He’s tech comm’s best futurologist.
This was quite a shock. I was trying to sell!
We’re available to work on new documentation projects, consultancy and training requirements. Contact us to discuss your requirements.
Technical Communications UK 2012, the conference organised by The Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators, ended last Thursday, and I’ve had a few days to reflect on this event.
What was new
There was a more of an international feel to the conference this year – there seemed to be more overseas speakers and delegates than in previous years. There were many new speakers and perhaps more case studies than before. Some of the new speakers had interesting content, but came across as a little nervous. It’s great to see new speakers, and I’m sure the nerves will go as they as do more presentations.
We saw new topics such as publishing content to tablets and other mobile devices. Technical Communicators are in a good position to make best use of these new technologies, because of our experience of publishing information to more than one medium, the abilities of the software tools we use, and because our approach is not to have the presentation format and content “baked together”. This ability to adapt to future trends might explain the greater confidence that seemed to be around the conference rooms.
Other new topics were:
- Developing community based content instead of user generated content. The former is getting users to write to a shared common goal. The latter often ends up as being “all about me”.
- Media synchronization. This is something I covered that seemed to generate a lot of interest. This is the idea that a user can move from watching a video, to listening to an audio narration, to reading text instructions, and back again. All the media are synchronised, so flow of information is seamless.
There were very few negatives. The audio of presentations were all meant to be recorded, but unfortunately not of them were.
There was one question left hanging in the air: How do you get non-Technical Authors to write in DITA or in other structured ways?
A good conference – roll on TCUK 2013
I look forward to next year’s conference. I’d like to see more discussions on how some consumer technology has become simpler and more ubiquitous, and how technical communicators should be adapt to that. Does that require a new style; does it now fall outside of the work that technical communicators do?
I’d also like to see a little more on using wiki-based technologies.
We work in a fast paced industry – it’s surprising how many new topics there are to explore at conferences such as these.
Here is a list of the upcoming Cherryleaf presentations and events:
What is the future for Technical Communicators when many organisations believe products are getting easier and they don’t need to spend so much on user documentation? We’ll look at whether the traditional model for technical communication is broken, research into how “cool” apps such as Facebook do (or don’t) provide Help, and how to deal with developers who believe the need for a user guide is a sign of poor software usability.
With more and more people using the iPad and other tablets for reading technical documentation, this workshop looks at how tablets can be used by organisations to design and deliver technical documents and other forms of User Assistance.
One of the most popular developments in computing in recent years has been the emergence of cloud-based computing and Software as a Service (SaaS). So is technical writing likely to move to the Cloud? In this presentation, we look at how we implemented a cloud-based authoring solution as a way of getting developers to participate in the authoring process.
In this 40 minute (approx) webinar, we’ll provide an overview of some of the emerging information design trends for presenting technical documentation on tablets.
We’ll be hosting our third “Trends in Technical Documentation” talk later in the year. If you’d like to present at this session, then do let us know.
Ellis Pratt will be speaking at the STC Summit, 20-23 May 2012, which is being held at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Rosemont, Chicago, IL. If you’re going to the conference, then we look forward to meeting you.
Inspired by Dr Aleks Krotoski’s Connections talks at the Royal Institution, Cherryleaf will be curating and hosting The Trends in Technical Documentation Talks during 2012.
At these sessions, there’ll be a presentation from a respected member of the Technical Communication profession, plus the opportunity to network with your peers. Each talk will be hosted by Cherryleaf in central London, and will last approximately two hours.
The first talk is:
- What will be the future for Technical Communicators if everything ‘just works’?
It will be held on 3.00pm-5.30pm on 24th January 2012, in Birdcage Walk, London SW1H. Spaces are limited to around 15 delegates.
We intend to hold these events once per quarter, and we’re looking for three people in 2012 who would like to present a case study or share their view of the future trends in technical communication with their peers. If you’ve got something interesting to say, then why not become a speaker at this event. It may be useful as a testing ground for any presentations you’re preparing for conferences such as UAEurope or Technical Communications UK.
There will be a nominal fee (between £20-£30) for attending this event. Contact us for more information.
Ellis has been asked to provide the keynote presentation at Technical Communications 2011, which is being held Tuesday-Thursday this week. The original presenter is unable to attend, so the ISTC has asked Ellis if he could step in and present on topic – “The role of Technical Communicators today”.
The conference presentations will be videoed.