Unconference Session #2 Notes – TC Summer Camp 2016

Style Guides

Description:

  • More than just look and feel
  • What goes in a typical style guide?
  • How to look at your docs to create one.
  • Who should own it?

Scribe: Rachael Lussos

Top Takeaways: 

  • A style guide is a value system
  • Revise style guides as necessary and at least every five years

Notes: 

  • Merge individual office style guides with the institutional style guide (eg. GPO), which serves as a back-up-GPO is based on the Chicago Manual
    in education(community college)we have no style guide but we use a handbook and MLA documentation
  • A style guide is a value system
  • Viqui uses Microsoft style guide for nouns; we have seven definitions for “option”
    use cheat sheets to help transitions between different style guides
  • Also develop checklists of the differences
  • Consistently use one style guide and then develop a system for switching to another style guide
  • Use a subliminal mnemonic when transitioning between style guides, such as changing the desktop background per guide or document first
  • Accessibility is part of the style guide;e.g. font size, no merged cells
  • Use Goggle analytics to determine how users are using your stuff (eg. viewing videos), and use that to inform your style guide
  • In teaching, make sure your students know how to access and learn style guides, rather than teach a specific one
  • Markup- applying catergorization is part of your style guide

Keeping Up With Industry Trends

Description: 

  • Techniques to keep us with current industry trends
  • How do you keep your skills up?
  • What resources keep you current?

Scribe: Doug Egman

Top Takeaways: 

  • Read idratherbewriting.com
  • Go to conferences/camps!
  • Network
  • Self-education (eg.lynda.com)

Notes: 

  • Take advantage of conferences, reading (STC pubs)
  • Look for training and professional development opportunities
  • TC blogs (eg-graphics)
  • Network, especially with consultants who work with multiple clients
  • Digression- how to write short documentation, intergrate graphics
  • Industry now expects broader expertise in design and programming whereas in the park writing was the focus
  • Audiences have changed from lay audiences to technical audiences (documenting
  • APIs and SDKR); mine B2B
  • Reoccuring theme:tech writers need to be able to learn technical and programming tools and systems (often on the fly/on the job)
  • Self-training:lynda.com
  • Tech writers must be willing to learn new technologies; adjust and change
  • Role of mentoring- helping new tech writers-improve writeing skills
  • Core skills and ability to learn
  • Website: I’d rather be writing.com- tutorials, writersua.com

Documentation Review Process

Top Takeaways: 

  • Rochester of STC is using slack for CTPC course.

Notes: 

  • Having a designated editor is better than peer review
  • Tracking hard copies of documents helps
  • Read it backwards for copy editings
  • Authoring tools have evolved but not the review process
  • Better ways to review
  • Adobe PDF review can be used for review and changes/comments-can be brought into Robohelp
  • Technical review and Editorial Review
  • Symmantec-first started with editorial team and then moved to peer review
  • How do you both reviews in a short span-when you are working in agile environment
  • What happens when the process breaks
  • Someone comes and gives the feedback in the last minute
  • Breaking down the review process into stages
  • Early draft, medile draft, final draft.
  • Co-ordinating time lines is important in this scenario
  • Setting expectations at each stage is important
  • Discuss your schedule in advance with other team members
  • Issues in using sharepoint for review process
  • Developers don’t think it’s their jobs to review documents
  • Not a good idea to allow developers to dictate the documents
  • Using slack for review process. You can start specific channel for a document review.

Content Architecture and Design

Description: 

  • Organize and plan authoring in a distributed model

Scribe: Jenny Stacey

Top Takeaways: 

  • Content Strategy- content management usla distributed model. How much is too much? mapping.
  • Flauk Strategy- best practice- analytics- support- tickets

Notes: 

  • Organize and Plan
  • What does it mean? Challenges? Solutions?
  • Content from scratch- productions in progress-things to goggle
    discussion: tc users?
  • Managed cloud cenurion, what write users want, deceedo pims process, reg’s defriend? help to find direction user needs scope. feels rigs featuring regular-
    releases seems pissman (audience roles);mapping processing, talking to users to find/processes similarities, digression. End user references are important; want to talk-how much is too much?
  • Project documentation make if accessible for high usage researchable, what do they need-