A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

I Heart Tech Docs

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Are Daily Rates for Technical Writers Collapsing?

My concern for US writers is that they fail to grasp the momentum that counties like India have established and the high quality of university graduates they are now producing. In the next 10-15 years, IT jobs which can be replicated offshore/offsite to lower costs will be embraced more aggressively. US companies have little choice but to do this.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing>Offshoring


Audience Analysis: Power Tools for Technical Writing

Documents fail for many reasons. One common mistake is to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach to your audience. This works only when generic material, usually of a non-technical nature.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Audience Analysis


Choosing the Right Style Guide

Style guides can improve the quality and presentation of documentation. They establish a layer of professionalism that may not have been there before. They also reduce arguments and ‘loose cannons’ within the department, as the style guide becomes the acknowledged reference. There are at least four points to consider when selecting a style guide.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2007). Articles>Editing>Style Guides>Standards


Five Reasons Why Women Are Better Technical Writers Than Men?

Maybe I’ve been very lucky but I believe women are far better as technical writers than men. Here are five areas where I think they have the edge of the guys.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Gender


How Apple’s Setup Guide Shows That It Thinks Different

Seth Godin believes that everything reflects what you stand for—right down to your technical documents. Ever looked at Apple’s tech docs?

Godin, Seth. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Documentation>User Centered Design>Macintosh


How Outsourcing Can Boost Your Tech Writing Career

Most technical writers see outsourcing as a real threat. But, if you look at it from another angle, it’s one huge business opportunity.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Careers>Writing>Technical Writing>Outsourcing


How to Change 100 Screenshots to the Same Size with a Single Click

All the screenshots in your Word document are different sizes. What’s the quickest way to get them all the same size? Is there a shortcut? Yes!

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Document Design>Image Editing>Microsoft Word


How to Interview Tech Writers

Jane R. in Texas asks for some tips on interviewing tech writers, especially when using assessment tests. Her company is about to hire their first full-time writer and they have not done this before. I’ve worked on both sides on the fence in the past, (i.e. interviewed and been interviewed) and picked up a few tings in the process. Hopefully, these will be of some help.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2007). Careers>Management>Interviewing>Technical Writing


How To Write Documents Faster

Most people don’t know what the AutoCorrect feature in Word really does. I use to correct the document AS I WRITE and to enter long strings of text automatically.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Word Processing>Editing>Microsoft Word


I Heart Tech Docs

A technical writing/technical communication weblog with tips, tools and templates for technical writers.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2003). Resources>Documentation>Blogs>Technical Writing


Janet Swisher on FLOSS Manuals, Open Source, and Book Sprints

Janet Swisher, who’s worked in technical communication since 1999, is an Information Developer for a medium-sized software company. Her specialist areas include online help, tutorials, API documentation and programmer guides. My “techie” cred is that she “can read code well enough to avoid asking obvious questions, and write code well enough to be dangerous.”

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Interviews>Technical Writing>Open Source


Seven Steps to Clear Technical Writing

These points are not meant to be all-inclusive. However, if you are new to tech writing, this should put you on the right road.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>Writing>Technical Writing>Documentation


Society for Technical Communications tries to define Technical Communicator and Fails

Maybe the confusion that surrounds the STC is its inability to define who it serves. Maybe the STC is trying to drum up support and be more inclusive.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Articles>TC>Standards>STC


Tips When Writing for the Web

On the web, write in small digestible chucks, which fit into the information hierarchy. To create your hierarchy, outline the website as you would for printed material. Then examine the site’s purpose and outline the main sections (e.g. words people use to navigate) and the links within those heads. Test it before it goes online.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2007). Academic>Web Design>Writing>User Centered Design


Top 50 Technical Writers on the Web

I was preparing a report on freelance technical writers and noticed how hard it was to find technical writing sites run by writers, most were recruitment site. So I’ve made a list of the top 50 technical writers with a web presence. Some of these you might know, such as Darren Barefoot and Tom Johnson. I have also added some other writers from India, Russia and Israel to reach out to a wider audience.

Walsh, Ivan. I Heart Tech Docs (2009). Resources>Directories>Technical Writing


Websites: Designed by Dogs, Managed by Cats

Websites are generally designed by dogs. There’s a lot of optimism. The dogs look at the website and think of it as an endless attic. No matter how much stuff you into it, there’s always room for more. The dogs approach each design step with a ‘have gigabytes, must fill’ enthusiasm. And then cats have to manage the website. The dogs let everyone publish and the cats are certainly not going to review all this stuff. The dogs created an architecture where everyone can find everything and now nobody can find anything. The cats shake their heads.

McGovern, Gerry. I Heart Tech Docs (2007). Articles>Web Design>Project Management

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