Script theory in technical communication

In the latest episode of the 10-Minute Tech Comm podcast, Ryan Weber talks to Kirk St. Amant about script theory and prototypes, as concepts for researching User Experience. They discuss Kirk’s article “Of Scripts and Prototypes: A Two-Part Approach to User Experience Design for International Contexts“, which was published in Intercom and is also available on www.academia.edu.

Script theory examines patterns of action in particular contexts. It proposes individuals often plan their behaviour in a context based upon what they expect to take place in that context. These factors influence a person’s expectations of usability in each setting.

Script theory could be useful in understanding people’s view and expectations towards technical documentation. It might also help us reframe User Assistance when it is used in different contexts, such as when it is delivered via chatbots. Sometimes, people have prejudices against user guides. These may not be there if the content was delivered in a different context.

The Carol Johnston Memorial Award

This October, Cherryleaf celebrates 15 years in the technical authoring business.

Over the years we have had many exciting challenges and worked with some wonderful inspirational people: none more so than our friend and co-founder, Carol Johnston, who sadly died of a brain tumour in 2012. Carol was enormously talented: a brilliant pianist and singer, a Cambridge Maths graduate and an excellent author. She contributed so much to Cherryleaf, and we miss her as much for her sense of humour as for her problem-solving abilities.

To celebrate Carol’s life and contribution to Cherryleaf, as well as our 15 years in business we have created the Carol Johnston Memorial Award. Carol was a great teacher and trainer – knowledgeable, professional and patient. She trained many authors over the years and would be, we hope, very pleased to continue contributing to the technical authoring world through the Carol Johnston Memorial.

The Carol Johnston Memorial Award is the chance for two young European Technical Authors (or erstwhile Technical Authors) under the age of 30 and living in Europe to access all Cherryleaf’s online courses free for 12 months. These courses include: our ISTC accredited training course which teaches the fundamentals of being a tech author; our Advanced technical writing course, and our WriteLessons courses.

To apply, all you have to do is send us a brief statement explaining why you want to have access to the Carol Johnston Memorial Award courses.  We’ll draw two winners in December.

T&Cs apply.

 

Ellis speaking at W2U Conference 2017

Cherryleaf’s Ellis Pratt will be speaking at the Write2Users Conference 2017 , which is being held 1-3 November at Copenhagen Zoo.

“The mission is to give attendees new skills for their day-to-day work with technical documentation and translation. You will learn about process optimization, new methodologies and new technologies. All delivered by industry experts, in-house specialists and practitioners from Scandinavia and abroad.”

Ellis will be speaking on “Agile in an Authoring World”.

New technical communication laptop stickers

The technical communication Venn diagram laptop stickers we created have been very popular. We’ve ordered more of them, and we’ve created some new designs. The new stickers have quotations from some of the people we’ve interviewed on the Cherryleaf podcast.

laptop sticker with quotation

The stickers should arrive by the end of the month. Like before, we’ll post them off to anyone based in Europe who wants them. 

Zendesk and Knowledge Centred Support

We explore these questions from listeners:

  • What’s your opinion of Zendesk and Mindtouch? Someone in our company thinks it might be a good idea to explore the idea of moving our Help content  – have you heard of anyone doing this and then using it in a way of single sourcing etc? 
  • Our boss wants us to consider the idea of merging our Help content and our “Knowledge base” which is like articles/support troubleshooting etc. Whether this is our content going into the knowledge base or vice versa, we’re not sure in terms of direction. Do you have any opinions on merging article-based content like this into a Help Authoring tool or Help content into a “normal” website like that?

Cherryleaf online courses are now available via an iOS app

Subscribers to Cherryleaf’s online courses can now take them using their iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, plus the Teachable iOS app.

Here’s how you can download the iOS app:

  1. Visit the Apple App Store on your compatible IOS device (requires iOS 9.3 or later).
  2. In the App Store, search for, “Teachable Online Courses”.
  3. Click the cloud icon to download the app on your device.
  4. After downloading, open the app.
  5. On the login screen, enter the email address and password associated with the student account you’d like to access. This is the same email address and password you use to log into our courses through the web browser on your computer.
  6. When you log in, you’ll see all the Cherryleaf school you’re account is associated with, along with the specific courses you’re enrolled in.