Thursday, October 9, 2008

STC Proposals #3 - What Tech Doc Can Learn From The Comics

Proposal for a paper to be presented at the 2009 STC Summit in Atlanta, GA

#3 - What Tech Doc Can Learn From The Comics

The recent Google Chrome comic caused a lot of buzz. But it's far from being the first "technical" comic. Find out how comics can help you produce better tech docs.

There is a long tradition of connections between the worlds of comic books and technical documentation, but it is one that is often overlooked. (For example the US army has used technical comics for over 50 years)

This presentation will present examples of technical documentation done using comic book techniques from over the years to the present day.

It will also show how by studying the story telling and artistic techniques used in comics we can improve the readability and quality of technical documentation.

STC Proposals #2 - How To Make Executives Love The Publications Department

Proposal for a paper at the 2009 STC Summit in Atlanta, GA.

#2 - How To Make Executives Love The Publications Department

"The publications department gets no respect" is an often heard refrain. But it need not be that way.

It is possible to make Publications one of the most respected groups in your company?

Building on my own experience of doing just that, this presentation will show five key steps to take in order to change the way people think about publications.

The lessons presented can be applied equally to a single writer, as well as to larger publications groups.

STC Proposals #1 - Move Over DITA, Chaos is Coming

Last week I submitted proposals for three papers for the 2009 STC Summit in Atlanta GA, and thought it might be fun to post the summaries here. Let me know if you'd be interested in hearing any of these and if so, what sort of questions you'd like answered or topics you would like me to cover.

#1 - Move Over DITA, Chaos is Coming

The Technical Publishing industry is on the edge of a paradigm shift and may not realize it.

As the digital generation enters the workforce they will bring new expectations with them that will challenge the way we write and deliver content.

This presentation will contrast the way we currently produce documentation and our expectations of user behavior with what we can expect our users to be asking for in the not too distant future.

In the world of social networks, online video, wikis, blogs and twitter is structured topic based authoring really the answer?

Friday, October 3, 2008

Reflection on Santa Fe

I must admit after last year's excellent CIDM Best Practices conference, this year's event in Santa Fe was a little disappointing.

I didn't really hear anything new from the presentations, while the networking and side conversations seemed somewhat subdued. I had a couple of good productive pre-arranged one-on-one meetings, but otherwise there was no real discernible "buzz" about this year's event.

Difficult to say why, as that's more of a subjective feeling than an objective observation.

One thing that did surprise me was the fact of how many people still overlook both the importance of graphics, and the impact of the whole publishing process once the content has been created.

Creating good technical documentation is not just about authoring and content management.