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.

AI and chatbots in technical communication – A primer

It seems likely artificial intelligence (AI) and AI-driven chatbots will play a key role in helping users in the future. So what does this mean for technical communicators and for User Assistance?

This podcast is based on an article we’ll be posting to tekom’s Intelligent Information blog. The article is currently out for review, and it should be published in the next two weeks.

The podcast has three chapters, or parts:

  1. What are chatbots?
  2. Making a chatbot
  3. What does this mean for technical communicators and for User Assistance?

See the Cherryleaf Podcast for podcasts on similar topics.

Book – Current Practices and Trends in Technical and Professional Communication

This week, the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators published a book, called Current Practices and Trends in Technical and Professional Communication. Cherryleaf’s Ellis Pratt is one of its co-authors.

book cover - Current Practices and Trends in Technical and Professional Communication

“Technical and professional communicators are experts in making complex systems and worlds understandable to those who need to access them. However, both the concepts we are communicating about and the tools we are communicating with are changing at a rapid pace. To communicate effectively, we need our own knowledge and understanding to remain current, identifying best practice and learning from the experience of others.

Current Practices and Trends in Technical and Professional Communication is a valuable source of collective knowledge from our community of practice. Experienced practitioners and innovators (from the UK and international) are sharing what they know for the benefit of both the communicator and the end user.

The topics in the book cover important issues affecting the work we do (including globalization, localization and accessibility), and the tools and processes we can use to resolve some of the issues we encounter. Changes in technology are described, and ways of harnessing that technology are identified, including both current and future possibilities.

Whether you work in relative isolation, as the sole technical or professional communicator in a multidisciplinary team, or with other technical or professional communicators, you will find plenty in this book that is thought-provoking, interesting and useful.”