How can technical authors become part of technology ecosystems?

Jonathan Mitchener has written an article in Engineering and Technology magazine on the interest of technology providers in creating “ecosystems”. This is the concept of offering not just gadgets but also a range of related products and services, which can integrate seamlessly with each other in an overall system. The poster boy for this ecosystem approach is… Read more »

Trends in technical documentation – Is technical writing broken?

Cherryleaf and Ovidius are in the early stages of organising a free seminar for the technical communication community at the Møller Centre in Cambridge. The themes for the event are likely to be future trends in technical authoring, and related to this, is technical writing broken? We’re liaising with the ISTC’s Cambridge area group on… 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 »

Does size matter for a technical author?

Pity the poor software project manager who needs to ship their product in ten languages, because today they are looking at roughly £1.20 ($2.20) per word* in translation costs alone. If they have a programmer delegated to develop the online Help or user guide, then every unnecessary phrase, sentence or paragraph they write can eat… Read more »