Which model of communication will technical communicators employ in the future?

About 44 minutes into his presentation, Michael Wesch talked about network size and the effect it traditionally has on the ways teachers communicate information to students. He said as the audience size increases, teachers have found they’ve had to get their students to participate less and follow more. He argued educators should and could move back to… Read more »

What should you include in your user documentation?

Technical authors are faced with limited time and resources, so they often are faced with the dilemma as to what to include and what to leave out of their user documentation. You may ask, if 80% read only 20% of the content, is there any value in documenting the rest? Technical Authors are often great… Read more »

Documentation and when things go wrong

The latest edition of the IET’s “Engineering & Technology” magazine looks at engineering disasters and, in doing so, provides food for thought regarding the role of documentation. “Hard lessons” looks at ten disasters, such as the Challenger Space Shuttle, and the reasons why these disasters can occur.  Looking at the disasters, I could see some common themes:… Read more »

When you need Help, do you press F1 or search Google?

I was at two clients in Cambridge earlier in the week, where the conversation turned to the Internet generation and how they search for information. Both publish their user documentation on their Web site, as well publish traditional PDFs and online Help files. The first client said that they’d found from their recent customer usability… Read more »

How can we make online Help as natural as breathing?

One of the themes of every Help related conference is that some users are reluctant to use Help. Help, as a word, implies failure and, it is said, Microsoft spent a lot of time trying unsuccessfully to come up with a better word to use. Recently, I was pointed towards a presentation by Professor Dan… Read more »