A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Nesbitt, Scott

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Review: A Review of Microstyle

We live in a world that, in many ways, has become shorter. Shorter messages. Shorter interactions. Shorter attention spans. And the popularity of services like Twitter encourage brevity, for better or for worse. As a writer of any stripe, you need to adapt to this change. And that’s idea underlying the book Microstyle by Christopher Johnson. The book is packed with solid advice on how to write compactly while still passing along useful information.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2013). Articles>Reviews>Writing


Review: A Review of Writing for the Web

These days, we can’t escape writing for the online world. Whether you contribute to web-based publications, run your own blog, or are a freelancer or full-time employee doing corporate work, writing for the web has become an essential skill. While online writing shares a number of similarities with writing for print, it also has more than a few nuances that you need to learn. That’s where Writing for the Web by Lynda Felder comes in. It’s easily one of the best books that I’ve read on the subject. Writing for the Web is a thin book, weighing in at 181 pages. But those pages pack a lot of practical information. Whether you’re new to writing online or someone with more than just a little experience, you’ll learn something from this book.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2013). Articles>Reviews>Writing>Online


Adding Dropbox to Your Writer’s Toolkit

Dropbox isn't just useful for backing up files. It’s also an excellent way of synchronizing files across the various devices like laptops, my smartphone, and my media player. Here’s a look at how one person uses Dropbox when writing.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2011). Articles>Writing>Tools>Online


An Introduction to DITA

Writing, compiling, and maintaining documentation is a necessary evil. While moving to DITA might not improve the quality of your documentation, it can streamline the process of creating and managing those documents.

Nesbitt, Scott. InformIT (2006). Articles>Documentation>XML>DITA


Applying Limits to Your Writing

ometimes, your writing can get out of hand. Maybe you’re bedeviled by deadlines and can’t get going. Or maybe you’re writing something, like an article or an essay or a short story or a book, and you just can’t stop writing. It just goes on and on and on. I think we’ve all been in one of those situations at some time or another. There are any number of ways around those problems. One solution that I’ve found to be particularly effective is to apply limits to your writing. What do I mean by applying limits? Deliberately imposing constraints on what you’re writing. Those limits can take any number of forms. I usually apply three limits to my writing. Interested in find out more? Then read on.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2013). Articles>Writing


Beat Writer’s Block with a Brain Dump

Ever find yourself unable to write, even though the words are in your head? Then try doing a brain dump to get those words working.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Articles>Writing>Advice


The Blurring of the Lines Between the Web and the Desktop

The line between the desktop and the Web is slowly eroding. There’s more and more integration and interoperation between desktop and Web applications (not to mention mobile apps, too). And that has implications for technical writers.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2010). Articles>TC>Online>Help


Books Every Technical Writer Should Read

A look at six books that every technical communicator should consider reading. While these books aren't about technical writing, you can apply their lessons to the job.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Articles>Education>Technical Writing


Books, Documentation, and Perception

In a world of topic-based writing and online delivery of documentation, is the idea of the book even valid anymore? Maybe ...

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Articles>TC


Building Presentations From the Ground Up, Part 2

I’ll discuss how Aaron and I get ready to give a presentation, how we actually deliver one, and what happens afterwards.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Presentations


Building Presentations, From the Ground Up, Part 1

A look at how two technical communicators plan and prepare presentations.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Presentations>Planning


Building Your Slides Online

Some Web entrepreneurs have made strides by developing Web-based tools for creating slides. The four that this TechTip highlights have a number of things in common.

Nesbitt, Scott. Tech-Tips (2009). Articles>Presentations>Online


Change is Gonna Come

There's a shift happening in the way in which documentation is produced. We’ve all seen the beginning of it: the growing volume of what’s called (among other things) user generated or crowdsourced documentation. That trend is growing. And while a number of people in our profession are still resistant to the idea, it’s only a matter of time before users are our main partners in creating documentation.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Social Networking


Change Your Writing Style to Make Documentation More Usable and User-Friendly

When the subjects of usability and user friendliness in relation to documentation are broached, writing isn’t often the first thing that comes to mind. But it should be.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2009). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Usability


Choosing a Blogging Platform

Are you thinking of jumping into the world of blogging? Well, you need a place in which to do it. This post looks at four blogging platforms that you can use to launch your blogging efforts.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2011). Articles>Blogging>Software


Choosing an XML Schema

DocBook and DITA both have their places. They're both excellent for single sourcing. DocBook is better for what I call monolithic single sourcing, while DITA is better suited for discrete single sourcing.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2008). Articles>Information Design>DocBook>DITA


Cleaning Your Web Pages with HTML Tidy

A detailed article on using the HTML Tidy utility to clear up problems in an HTML file.

Nesbitt, Scott. InformIT (2004). Articles>Web Design>HTML>Software


The Cloud and the Freelance Technical Communicator

A look at some of the Web-based applications that one freelance technical communicator uses and finds indispensable.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Careers>Freelance>TC>Cloud Computing


The Cloud and the Freelance Technical Communicator

A look at some Web-based applications that freelance technical communicators might find useful.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Careers>Freelance>TC>Cloud Computing


The Cloud and Writers

Even if you don’t know what the cloud is or fully understand it, the very existence and continued growth of cloud computing has some implications for writers.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2011). Articles>Writing>Online>Cloud Computing


The Cloud, Mobile, and Their Impact on Technical Communication

The way in which we compute has been changing over the last three or four years. In fact, I think I can safely say that what many people are doing now isn’t computing in the traditional sense of the word. And this move is going to have an effect on technical communication.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Articles>Documentation>Content Management>Cloud Computing


Consistent Terminology is Crucial

Having consistent terminology, and using that terminology consistently, is crucial. Terminology that isn’t consistent, and which isn’t used consistently, can cause more than just a little confusion. And documentation that doesn’t use that terminology consistently can cause more problems than it clears up. Not only with customers, but within your company and project as well.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2011). Articles>TC>Technical Writing>Controlled Vocabulary


Conversation and Community: A Review (of Sorts) in About 1,700 Words

Technical communication is changing rapidly. If you’re not ready for that change, it’s going to really catch you off guard. Anne Gentle's book Conversation and Community is an excellent guide to rolling with those changes, and for staying ahead of them. This article takes a close look at the book.

Nesbitt, Scott. DMN Communications (2009). Articles>TC>Social Networking>Documentation


Conversation, Cadence, and Writing

Writing in a more conversational tone is a worthwhile goal. If you do it properly, you can draw readers in and make them more comfortable. The keys are to write as you'd speak, and to keep the flow and cadence smooth.

Nesbitt, Scott. ScottNesbitt.net (2009). Articles>Writing


Creating Presentations with OperaShow

An article discussing how to use the Opera Web browser as a presentation tool.

Nesbitt, Scott. InformIT (2004). Articles>Presentations>Software



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