No one knows what the future of technical writing looks like. You can however get a pretty good idea if you have a look at the characteristics and philosophies of the people who are newly entering the profession. As a teacher of technical writers, I get to see generation Y in action all the time and perhaps my observations about their ideas and reactions to different editorial systems are an indicator of what is to come.
The time of wikis' widespread popularity are long gone. And yet, the enterprise wiki Atlassian Confluence is more popular than ever. Our guest author found six reasons why this isn't a contradiction and may have unearthed the secret recipe behind Confluence's trend-bucking success.
Managing controlled documents such as software specifications, plans, or collaboratively-edited contracts isn’t easy at the best of times. And it’s harder yet if multiple stakeholders from different organizations are involved: project managers, engineers, QA, legal etc. Thankfully, there is a better way. . .
Is your strategy for the tekom/tcworld Conference dialed in and ready to roll? Since tekom is the world’s largest technical communication summit, qualification event, and trade fair, your plan is worth a bit of thought. And as you’ll soon learn, the event has several traits that make it particularly German in character: it's well organized, business driven, and has a strong focus on factual content. We hope we can make it a more enjoyable experience for you, with our unofficially-definitive tekom/tcworld Conference Guide featuring six pro tips from guest blogger and tekom veteran Martin Häberle https://twitter.com/martinhaeberle.
“No one reads documentation, and nobody gives feedback on it.” This phrase is bad news for technical communicators – but it’s not the whole story. What actually happens in reality hinges on the way we manage and distribute technical content. (Protip: Host it on the web and invite everyone to get involved). This is the second part in our blog post series https://www.k15t.com/blog/2015/07/feedback-please-why-technical-writing-shouldn-t-be-a-one-way-street about the benefits of crowd-enabled documentation using a collaborative approach. In this post you’ll learn how to get readers’ feedback on documentation easily by building collaborative web-based help content that allows technical communicators to elevate the quality of their work to the next level.
For a long time, technical writing was like driving down a one-way street. We’ve sent information into one direction, and nothing came back. But since the age of the Web 2.0, this approach is no longer a best practice. Today, being a technical writer means to communicate and to interact with everyone involved – including our readers. Building documentation heavily depends on feedback, and it’s an iterative process – more like a traffic circle. New processes require new technology – it’s time to move from publishing tools to collaboration platforms. This blogpost is part of a series about feedback in technical communication, In this article, read why receiving feedback is crucial to create helpful technical content and how a web-based collaboration platform can enable both internal feedback and customer feedback.
Today, we’re going to settle the question once and for all – which is superior? Documentation in a plain-text editor using Markdown, or creating content in a rich-text editor the WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) way? How will it be decided, you ask? A good, clean head-to-head fight!
Bringing people together in a collaboration platform like Atlassian Confluence also means transferring your legacy content from multiple information silos. These repositories often contain important information that you can’t afford to leave by the wayside when building a new corporate knowledge base. In many cases, legacy content is only available as HTML files, such as online help resources or intranet pages. Is there a way to bring these assets into Confluence efficiently? Yes – but there is no one-size-fits-all method. There are three main approaches to importing a collection of static HTML pages. Your individual needs will determine which is best for you.
What would you call the image on the right? A ‘drop-down list’? A ‘pull-down’ or ‘select list’? A ‘drop-box’? I recently discussed this very issue with one of our Atlassian Expert consultants. It seems everyone – from customers to consultants, developers and tech writers – has their own name for this UI element. We constantly refer to it in meetings, specs and technical documentation, but often do so in different ways. Consistent wording is key to delivering clear, readable documentation. But when larger groups of authors collaborate to write documentation, they tend to use different words for the same things – such as jargon, or incorrect or obsolete terms. This is where terminology management comes to the rescue. This blog post describes how you can build a glossary in Confluence to ensure terminology consistency. What’s more, I’ll show you a way to check your Confluence content for terminology and writing style.
Confluence 5.7 is the first release to boast inline comment functionality. The entire Confluence user community – including ourselves here at K15t Software – instantly fell in love with this new way to close the content feedback loop. But can inline comments be used for questions and feedback on public documentation sites? Or are comment threads below pages still the best way to interact? This key issue was recently discussed on the Atlassian Confluence documentation site. Here’s a wrap-up of that discussion https://confluence.atlassian.com/display/DOC/Supported+Platforms?focusedCommentId=712639181#comment-712639181 – plus some best practices for using inline comments or choosing (threaded) page comments in Confluence 5.7.
When we first released Scroll Viewport on the Atlassian Marketplace in 2013, we claimed it was the best way to publish from Confluence to the web. Since then, we’ve learned a great deal from numerous website projects – and as a result, we’ve reconsidered the whole concept and spent many hours working on developments. Now, we’re proud to present Scroll Viewport 2.0 – a Confluence add-on that's a framework for delivering Confluence content even simpler and faster to the web.
In medieval times, merchants used an Exchequer table to perform calculations for taxes and goods – and tables have been considered the best way to compile and compare data ever since. Tables can display large volumes of structured information in a highly compact and logical way. And today, spreadsheets enable us to calculate and process data electronically. Technical communicators rely on tables and comparison matrices to provide their readers with value-added information. So when using Atlassian Confluence to manage and distribute documentation, they need to be able to create tabular data, too. But Confluence is a collaboration platform and wiki, and wasn’t specifically built to handle complex tables or manage spreadsheet calculations. So can it be used to build, manage, style and calculate tabular content with ease?
In our recent survey, we asked technical writers at the tcworld Conference how they manage documentation content, and how they collaborate with other communicators, developers, and experts. Here are the results – and some of them might surprise you.
We’re delighted to introduce you to the latest member of the Scroll add-ons https://marketplace.atlassian.com/vendors/7016 family. Meet our all-new Scroll CHM Exporter for Confluence. Let’s get to know this helpful new add-on a little better.
The latest release of our content management add-on for Confluence enables you to publish content to remote Confluence systems. What’s more, it enhances workflow support when making content available to a new or existing Confluence space.
Here's K15t Software http://www.k15t.com/'s 30th weekly social web round-up for technical writers, information architects, and content strategists – sharing 150+ links. This week's top story from the Atlassian Developers blog: “A New Viewport in Confluence”
Here's K15t Software http://www.k15t.com/'s weekly social web round-up for technical writers, information architects, and content strategists. This week's top story from the HipChat blog: “How to Use HipChat to Collaborate and Build Culture”
Here's K15t Software http://www.k15t.com/'s weekly social web round-up for technical writers, information architects, and content strategists. This week's top story from Kelly McDaniel in the Pro Austin Writer blog: “Immigration to Confluence”.
Here's K15t Software http://www.k15t.com/'s weekly social web round-up for technical writers, information architects, and content strategists. This week's top story from the Valiantys blog: "Spreadsheets for Confluence 1.0: Filtering, Sorting, and Excel Import"
Last friday, our office was closed for a special reason: We were out on this year's K15t Software team event, and we had a great time together at the beautiful Allgäu area near Oberstdorf, located in the German Alps. Get some impressions of this awesome two-day trip.