Should Programmers Write Technical Documentation?

Before you make your programmers write the next user guide, think again. Should they really be doing this? Or would you be saving money by giving it to trained technical writers? Developers are: Not trained writers Write documentation slowly and often incorrectly Have other things to focus on Technical writers: Are trained to write documentation Write […]

How To Get a Budget For Technical Documentation

One of the dilemmas for technical writers is getting a budget for the next set of technical documents. The problem is usually down to ROI. Can you prove that more documents are worth the investment? If not, why are we writing them? Documentation Plan for only $3.99   Getting A Budget For Technical Documentation Surveys […]

Are your technical documents colorblind?

What impact does color have on your technical documents? Rhonda Bracey, on CyberText, outlines seven ways that color communicates meaning. Technical Documents & Influence of Color Actually, she credits these seven to Rob Mills, who wrote an article for Think Vitamin on How Color Communicates Meaning, where he describes how color: Affects your mood Communicates […]

7 Skills Technical Writers Need

When you think of technical writing, what comes to mind?
Do you think of someone sitting all alone in a cubicle, glued to a computer screen, diligently documenting complex software?

Why Adobe FrameMaker Sucks – A Slight Rant

Ok, let’s start this product comparison between Microsoft Word (in the red corner) and Adobe FrameMaker (in the blue corner). Before we get into the actual review, I’d like to share how I first encountered FrameMaker and, more importantly, why its roots in an obscure DTP package are the reason why it is the strange beast we love and hate.

Is Adobe FrameMaker Worth the Money?

If you’ve been given a budget for a technical writing dept (tech comms), then you looking for value for money when it comes to buying new tech writing software. We all understand that. The problem I have at the moment is deciding how to use the budget I have. And Adobe FrameMaker is giving me a real headache. For writing long docs, it’s fine. But the cost is a real problem. Is it worth the money?

Using LinkedIn To Find Technical Writing Contract Work

I’ve had some reservations about LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/in/ivanwalsh) and didn’t join up until last year. Most of the technical writers I spoke to didn’t seem to get much return on the site and looked elsewhere. I should add that most of these were job-hunting and looking to make quick connections. For them it didn’t work.

How To Stop Technical Documents From Crashing

Is there anything worse than writing User Guides all afternoon and then… Word crashes! If your Microsoft Word files suddenly become huge and start crashing, here’s a few ways to fix it. I’ve creating some very long technical documents in Microsoft Word and learnt a few ways to control these documents.

How To Make Friday Your Busiest Day

lance-armstong-getting-things-done Friday is my busiest day. Most folks power down and go into weekend mode. Not here! Ask yourself, ‘why do I go down a gear on Friday?’, ‘How does this benefit my career?’ Ok, let’s be honest. We do this because others do it. Right? This is a high-risk way to manage your career. You’re letting others determine how you behave. And it damages your career in many, many ways. Here’s an alternative approach.

Who Makes The Most Money – Technical Writers with Strong Language or Technical Skills?

Kai raised an interesting point about which skill (writing/technical) takes longer to master. Knowing how to structure and present information to users? Or knowing how to use a product or application? That got me thinking. If you want to make money as a technical writer, which area should you focus on? Sharpen your writing skills or deepen your technical knowledge, for example, learning how to document an API?