Tag Archives: structured writing

Time to move to multi-sourcing

Single sourcing has been the watchword of technical communication for the last several decades. We have never fully made it work. A pair of seminal posts by prominent members of the community give me cause to hope that we may be ready to move past it. Single sourcing is about the relationship between sources and… Read More »

Designing for Feedback

We were discussing the biggest challenges in Tech Comm at the last STC Toronto brunch and we all seemed to agree that the difficulty getting feedback on the effectiveness of the content we create is the biggest challenge. The things that really matter in technical communication is whether users can achieve their goals after finding… Read More »

Is There a Reproducible Method for Explanation?

In a recent LinkedIn discussion on “Most important competencies for technical writers,” I commented that the most important skill for technical writers was explanation, and that the ability to write and the ability to explain are not the same thing, and that the ability to explain is significantly less common that the ability to write… Read More »

What kind of “easy” authoring are you looking for?

I was reading JoAnn Hackos article on easy DITA authoring solutions and it got me thinking about what the word “easy” means in regard to DITA or any similarly complex technology. Can an editing interface make DITA easy? Some DITA consultants that I know complain bitterly about tools that make that claim. DITA may be many… Read More »

Structured Writing is Essential for Developer Docs

Tom Johnson wrote a post recently in which he questioned the value of structured writing for developer documentation. Needless to say, I disagree. But Tom and I are not really at odds here. Rather, he means something different by “structured writing” than I do. Structured writing is about content quality, not publishing What I mean… Read More »

Designing topic types

A number of readers have asked me to write about how to design a topic type. Although it can sound complicated, especially if your bring XML schema definitions into the mix, designing a topic type is actually pretty simple. Before we begin, though, set aside all the issues around XML. XML has nothing to do with… Read More »