WTD 2018 – Unconference

Last week, I attended a fantastic tech comm conference – Write the Docs Prague 2018. Hosted for the fifth time in the beautiful city of Prague, WTD allowed me to meet, chat, and share the experience with the fellow tech writers, information architects, and information developers from all over the world. Exciting!

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MMoS vs MSG: The old, the new, and the unexpected

It’s been half a year since Microsoft released a new edition of their manual of style. The long-time reference of a few generations of technical communicators has been renamed, revamped, and rethought in several aspects.

It took us quite some time to grasp all the changes and ideas crafted by Microsoft, and in one of our previous posts, we’ve already summarized some of them. Now we would like to share our impressions about the new style guide in terms of its format, structure, and content.

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Microsoft Manual of Style vs. Microsoft Writing Style Guide

Since its first publication in 1995, the Microsoft Manual of Style has been a Holy Grail of editorial wisdom for rookie and experienced tech writers alike.  In January, Microsoft released a new edition—the Microsoft Writing Style Guide. How different are the 2012 version we’ve been relying on for the past few years and the 2018 one? Let’s take a quick glance.

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Technical translation: lessons learnt

Any company operating in the international market simply cannot do without a Technical Translator. So, how can Technical Writers aid their companies in this matter? Well, by targeting their content at different audiences in different markets, Technical Writers often have to cooperate with localization specialists and deal with translation. But is technical translation such a seamless task? Let’s dig into its depths and try to come up with the best tips to follow whenever the task arises. Continue reading

Content Accessibility: Back to Basics

One of the many titles that we documentarians assume is user’s advocate. This means that we defend the user’s interests, cater for their information needs, and provide them with the right content at the right time. But what if some of them cannot read the help topic because the font is too small and light, or they cannot do a step in a procedure as the instructions are too vague? This means that probably, we have overlooked such thing as accessibility. Continue reading

Multitasking: not only inefficient, but also harmful

The myth of multitasking is one of the traps most of us fall into, especially in the office environment. Multitasking is a trendy skill in numerous job descriptions. It seems, the world needs super-duper multitaskers at all times. It was also presumed that those who appear effective in multitasking have superior brain function as well as better control of their thinking stream. Is such presumption true? Is multitasking really effective? And how does it influence our productivity and mental state? Recent studies show negative results. So, if you are checking your messages while reading this article or jumping from one web page to another, just stop for a moment. Continue reading

Requirements that you didn’t know were there (Write the Docs Europe 2017)

Proudly presenting the slides from my talk at Write the Docs Europe 2017, now on SlideShare!

Plus, fresh recording of the live talk.

For those of you who missed it, here’s a short intro.

Every doc that you deliver is as useful as the requirements it satisfies. Typical requirements revolve around target audience, method of delivery, technical limitations. But after the doc is done, then come unexpected expectations. John – your key stakeholder – dislikes clichés like corporate templates and wants to stand out with neat Apple-styled docs. Also, it was a mistake to tell him about similar ‘really cool docs’ you already did for his colleague Jane because apparently they don’t get along well, and now he proudly decided that he won’t mimic her decisions… Suddenly, your docs should not only make users happy, but also help your stakeholders achieve their aims – move up a career ladder, impress the manager, get a bigger paycheck. The success of your docs depends on requirements that you are never told but are still expected to meet. This presentation is about reading your stakeholders and deducing the ultimate requirements.