A directory of resources inthe field of technical communication.

Technically Speaking

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Analysis of Team Design Review

Every other team meeting, three team members get 30 minutes each to talk about projects they are working on, and they get to demonstrate some of the cool things they are integrating into the project. As a team, we look at the project and both learn from what they’ve done, and make suggestions on how they might improve the project.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>Collaboration>Graphic Design>Assessment


Asking Questions is Key

I think one of the hardest things in technical writing, especially for new hires, is to be assigned to document a product or feature that you know nothing about.

Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>Interviewing>Technical Writing>SMEs


Breaking up with Ubuntu

Good luck, Ubuntu. I wish you well. But now just doesn’t seem like the right time for me and you. You don’t work for me, and Windows 7 does. But thanks. It was fun (kind of) while it lasted.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2010). Articles>Software>Open Source>Linux


I Don't Want You to Think

These are just a few ways in which we can reduce your time spent thinking about the documentation and get you back to your task at hand. Unfortunately our ability to excel at these tasks are limited by two rather large factors:

Pollack, Ryan. Technically Speaking (2010). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Usability


Image Maps for Help System Navigation

One of my goals was to make it easy to get help for using specific parts of our application. Users don’t need to know the name of the panel or feature they are trying to use. They just need to know where they are working on the screen, and they can click through to get the help that discusses that part of the screen.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>Documentation>Information Design>Technical Illustration


Intellectual Property Responsibilities of Content Developers

As a technical writer, I develop content for the applications I'm supporting. Often that includes designing content, images, and multi-media to provide the best user experience possible. As content developers, however, we have a responsibility (both legal and moral) to ensure that the content we are using is being used properly and legally.

Pherson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>Intellectual Property>Copyright>Ethics


Movement in Information: Moving Toward Goal-Oriented Documentation

Writing a great tutorial is an art form. There are several requirements for a successful how-to exercise: the user needs enough information to successfully complete the task.

Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>Documentation>User Centered Design


Review: Pre-Release Review of Flare V5

Soon MadCap Software will be releasing the next major version in the Flare product line, Flare V5. I’ve been beta testing Flare 5 for a couple of months now, and there are some great new features in Flare 5 that you are going to love. In this review, I want to point out some of my favorite new features, as well as some of Flare 5’s other great enhancements.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>Reviews>Documentation>Madcap Flare


The STC Crisis: The Take of a "Young" Writer

As a “young” technical writer, I thought I might share some of my feelings on the STC crisis. First, a little background on me. I knew while I was in college that I wanted to be a technical writer after graduation. I switched to an English major for that purpose, and picked classes that gave me a “technical communication emphasis”. I joined STC while I was in college because I wanted to connect with people in my field. I got a chapter scholarship to attend a regional STC conference, and had a great time meeting people who did for a living what I was studying.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2009). Organizations>TC>Community Building>STC


Ten Things To Love About Flare 4

The team at MadCap Software has been working on the next version of Flare for several months now, and I’ve been lucky enough to be one of the beta testers who has had an early sneak-peak at what Flare 4 has to offer. Finally, after months of testing, I’m ready to share some of the latest and greatest features that will shortly be available in Flare 4.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2008). Articles>Documentation>Software>Madcap Flare


Twitter and Tech Communication

Twitter can be a great tool, and can help people get answers quickly. However, when you have a question and need an answer, you probably ought to consider your question, and determine what channel is best suited for the type of answer you need. That may or may not be Twitter.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2009). Articles>TC>Technical Writing>Social Networking


Visual Help for Visual Code

Many studies have been done that indicate users skim documentation, not actually reading if they can help it. I know that when I look for help in an application, I do the same thing. Enter some search terms, find a page, skim to find words I'm looking for, repeat the process if I don't find anything helpful. When we're talking about wiring several VIs together (like the example above) we should be showing you a minimum of one screenshot: what the finished block diagram should look like.

Technically Speaking (2010). Articles>Documentation>Technical Writing>Technical Illustration


When the “Right” Tool Isn’t the “Best” Tool

I ended up picking an inferior (in my opinion) tool, HTML and JavaScript because it was the right tool for this project. While I think Flare is a better tool overall, in this case, it wasn’t the right fit.

Pehrson, Paul. Technically Speaking (2010). Articles>Documentation>Software>Madcap Flare

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