Announcement: April date for the Advanced Technical Writing Techniques course

You’ll find we’ve added a new training course date on our Web site for our Trends in Technical Communication Workshop – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques.

It will be held on Monday 22th April.
Continue reading

Extra date for Trends in Technical Communication Workshop – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques

You’ll find we’ve added a new training course date on our Web site for our Trends in Technical Communication Workshop – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques.

It will be held on Monday 25th February.

The January course sold out within ten days, so it’s wise to book early.

If you’ve read the technical writing blogs and magazines, you’ll have noticed a growing interest in new approaches to technical communication – asking whether all of the tried-and-tested writing methods from past decades still make sense today.

In this course, you’ll find out how Technical Authors in leading companies are now applying techniques from other disciplines (such as psychology, copywriting, usability and elearning) into the information they create. The course has been designed to be independent of any particular authoring tool, and to work in both a structured and unstructured authoring environment.
Continue reading

Announcing: Trends in Technical Communication Workshop – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques

You’ll find a new training course on our Web site called Trends in Technical Communication Workshop – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques.

If you’ve read the technical writing blogs and magazines, you’ll have noticed a growing interest in new approaches to technical communication – asking whether all of the tried-and-tested writing methods from past decades still make sense today.

In this course, you’ll find out how Technical Authors in leading companies are now applying techniques from other disciplines (such as psychology, copywriting, usability and elearning) into the information they create. The course has been designed to be independent of any particular authoring tool, and to work in both a structured and unstructured authoring environment.

If you want to discover new approaches to technical writing, this one-day, hands-on advanced workshop is right for you.

To start with, we’ll be offering this course on-site or in-house (i.e. at our training centre in Central London), with public courses following later on. As an on-site course, the exercises can be based around your existing content.

For more information, see Trends in Technical Communication Workshop – Advanced Technical Writing Techniques.

Dr Tony Self’s DITA training courses in London

We’ve arranged for Dr. Tony Self to host his DITA training workshops in London this October. Tony is based in Australia, and he also known as “Dr. DITA”, as he has a PhD in DITA. He is also the author of “The DITA Style Guide”.

Publishing with the DITA Open Toolkit, 8 October 2012

Most DITA implementations start with the DITA Open Toolkit (OT) being used for publishing of DITA content. The Open Toolkit is developed and managed separately from the DITA standard itself, and provides an open-ended collection of tools and sample files. Although some DITA tools provide alternative publishing paths for DITA content, many DITA authoring tools rely on the OT.

In this workshop, you will learn how to install, configure, test, customise, and publish DITA documents using the DITA Open Toolkit. Along the way, you will discover why the OT appears to be complicated and quirky. You will also learn its relationship with DITA, and how it is typically integrated with a DITA authoring tool. The OT’s command line publishing interface is quite daunting for many, so you will also discover how the free WinANT Echidna tool can provide a friendly, feature-rich interface.

We will work hands-on to explore how to provide customised PDF and HTML output and corporate “badging” of output. A number of third party plug-ins extend the functionality of the OT further, and we will also experiment with some of these useful extensions.

DITA authoring best practices, 9 October 2012

As more companies implement DITA to streamline the development of documentation and user assistance, best practices for DITA authoring are being established. While the OASIS DITA standard provides rules for the use of elements and attributes, it does not provide clear guidelines for how to practically apply the mark-up, and how to create consistency so that DITA documents can be more readily interchanged. DITA has the potential to change habits of composition, expression and presentation for a broad range of writers and in so doing enhance productivity across a number of industries and occupations.

Adopting best practices will enable authors to maximise their productivity. In traditional authoring, best practices are often captured in a style guide, providing real-world examples and clear recommendations. However, existing style guides are written for style-based authoring, and not for DITA’s semantic mark-up approach. Tony Self has analysed the way in which DITA has been used, and has developed a DITA Style Guide to fill the gap between the DITA standard and traditional style manuals. In this workshop, Tony describes what constitutes best practice in DITA, explains the rationale behind the commonly used DITA elements and structures, and works through practical examples of best practice decisions.

The workshop will also cover the basics of DITA authoring. It is aimed at authors new to DITA and experienced authors wanting to improve their practices.

Announcing our ‘Using the iPad as a documentation device’ workshop: 31 May 2012

We’ve completed the slides and booked the training room for our new workshop, Using the iPad (and other tablets) as a documentation device:

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.

The course will be held in Central London on Thursday 31 May 2012, 9.30am-12.30pm.

You do not need to have a tablet to attend this course, or have previous knowledge of using a tablet.

This course is aimed at Technical Authors and others developing technical documentation and other forms of Help for users.

Places cost £175 ex VAT. For more information, and to book, see Using the iPad (and other tablets) as a documentation device.

Training workshop on using the iPad (and other tablets) as a documentation device

We’re considering running a training workshop on how to use the iPad and other tablets as a device for delivering documentation. The primary focus will be on the iPad, but we can also cover what’s possible on Android tablets.

If there is sufficient interest, then we’ll run a course.

We’ll cover items such as

  • How organisations are creating, in just 30 seconds, online magazines for “getting started” guides, tips and tricks, training guides and FAQs, using existing content from your Web site and blogs.
  • Apps for reading content
  • Tools for creating content
  • What works/ what doesn’t work
  • Implications for the future, how to use the iPad to gain and edge over your competition etc
  • IPad and PDFs – reading them on the device, copying them onto the iPad.

Let us know if you would be interested in attending such an event.

Location is likely to be in London or the South East of England.

What’s your software Help strategy?

Whether for new business generation, enabling users to get the job done or simply to reduce support costs, Help is a vital tool for software businesses. Yet so few people take a strategic approach to it.

Today, all of the resources you need are at your disposal for you to enable users to achieve their best. The question is do you understand how?

We’re introducing strategy workshops for Documentation Managers and leaders of documentation projects who want to do more than just provide a traditional user manual/Help file.

These interactive strategy seminar workshops will look at the key issues concerning leaders of documentation projects.

Sessions can be developed on a bespoke basis depending on each individual client’s needs.

Contact us if this is of interest.