We have posted a new vacancy for a contract technical author onto our Web site today. It’s with a great organisation.
The Microsoft Assistance Platform team is asking for people’s thoughts on this:
What if WinHelp didn’t exist in the next version of Windows – codename Longhorn?
You can comment on their blog here.
“WebWorks ePublisher Pro opens new doors by providing greater flexibility and ease of use for Help authors, technical writers, documentation professionals, and other content providers wanting to produce content for common online formats directly from Microsoft Word or Adobe FrameMaker files. In addition, the new software features simple WYSIWYG controls and push-button processing that give authors full control of the look and feel of Help content and other online information.”
Tags and tag navigation could offer a new and better way of finding and organising information on Web sites, Help files, procedure documents and Intranets. del.icio.us, flickr, technorati are examples of sites that use tags. These sites allow more than one person to tag a particular entry, and create multiple navigation routes, although it is possible to build a site where all the tags are from the author.
Enabling the users to decide and develop the navigation routes in this way could lead to consensus or to anarchy. We think it could work well.
We sent out our latest HTML newsletter this week, unfortunately with three typos. It’s another why I (Ellis) don’t do any chargeable client work and stick to sales and marketing.
Ginny Critcher and Justin Darley had a meeting with Ian Kemble of Portsmouth University this week, to discuss their new MA in Technical Communication and areas where we might help them.
One of the topics that came up was whether or not they should include technology related topics. On the one hand, you can argue that technology gets out of date very quickly, on the other you could argue that you’re unlikely to get work if you don’t know the tools of the trade.
Last week Ellis Pratt heard Thomas Power and Dr. Gerry Lemberg (of the London Business School) both claim that the concept of a job (i.e being an employee) will pretty much end in our life times. If so, the education system will need to change considerably in order to prepare students for the real world. Are they right?
The EU sponsored TecDoc-Net project has published guidelines on Technical Communication, the state of the profession and future challenges. It lists a “Potential for jobs in the field of Technical Communication” for each European country. The guidelines could also be used to develop job descriptions and study programmes.
It claims there is potential for 38,000 Technical Communicators in the UK alone, which we believe is hugely optimistic.
Weblogs now seem to be finding commercial applications as marketing tools, and the business press is starting to pay attention to it – it is claimed to be the new market research, the new branding and the new R&D rolled into one. There’s a debate raging as to whether blogging should be done by journalists, copywriters, PR agencies or in-house staff. Of course, there’s another group who could be doing it – technical communicators. They can write clearly and they understand the organisation and the users.
We have always run the front page of our Web site and this newsletter as a hybrid blog (without a comment facility), and this month we have implemented a Cherryleaf Blog in order to complement this newsletter.
Blogging may also offer a better way for sharing knowledge *internally* around an organisation. Blogging is quick, easy, often informal, and collaborative. Microsoft has been an early pioneer of this approach, and it will be interesting to see if it is adopted by others.
What do you think of the future for blogs?