User Assistance: Prevention or cure?

In 2011, will we see a trend towards preventing users getting stuck, rather than curing them after they’ve got stuck? User Interface design is preventative. Support is curative. User documentation is, in most cases, curative. With new technologies for assisting users emerging, Technical Authors may have the opportunity to provide assistance before users get stuck…. Read more »

Using the Wheel – a story

This is an adapted version of a story from Selling the Wheel, by Jeff Cox: Once upon a time, long ago, a resourceful fellow named Max came up with a brilliant idea and invented the Wheel. He said to his wife, ‘you know what, the Wheel is going to make us lots of money’. His… Read more »

The User Manual 2.$

Here is an interesting interview between Robert Scoble and Aaron Fulkerson of Midtouch on how MindTouch’s technical communication software is changing how people work together at big companies. “We started seeing more and more of our customers—Intuit and Microsoft, Intel and Autodesk and Mozilla – launching these documentation communities where they have a body of… Read more »

Setting a marketing strategy for a Technical Publications Dept

A good Technical Publications manager will, naturally, set a strategy for their department. In addition to the HR, technical and project management aspects, there’s another factor to consider – the marketing strategy for the department. Sales consultant Richard White advises businesses define and describe the archetypes for their particular product or service. He means the… Read more »

In praise of dummies

We live in a world so diverse and so complex that everyone has to deal with situations where we’re really don’t know what’s going on. We have to ‘drive blindly’ – we’re all dummies at some time or another. The reality is, it’s rarely your fault. The last person said to know everything about the… Read more »