Content Strategy: How Long is This Gonna Take?

It’s the very end of the month (a leap month, no less! I had an extra day!) and I’ve got a cou­ple of projects I want to post about, but they’re still in progress. So, instead of some per­son­al cre­ative or DIY stuff, I want­ed to post about some­thing more work-relat­ed for me. From the… Con­tin­ue read­ing Con­tent Strat­e­gy: How Long is This Gonna Take?

Needle in a Haystack

I just fin­ished what was one of the longest days of my career so-far at Bent­ley. And every­thing that was bad about today was entire­ly my own damn fault and could have been eas­i­ly avoid­ed if I’d just been a bit more care­ful. In addi­tion to push­ing some pub­lish­ing updates to our doc­u­men­ta­tion CCMS last… Con­tin­ue read­ing Nee­dle in a Haystack

Think Inside the Box

I saw this video today demo­ing a very inter­est­ing user man­u­al con­cept. Essen­tial­ly, the man­u­al wraps around a device with queues to manip­u­late the actu­al device, rather than some screen­shots or pho­tos. Basi­cal­ly the man­u­al is more of a phys­i­cal tem­plate (or jig, since I’m using tem­plate in the crafts­man sense). Out of the box from… Con­tin­ue read­ing Think Inside the Box

A DITA & DITA Open Toolkit Reading List

I was in the process of reor­ga­niz­ing my com­put­er sci­ence and tech­ni­cal writ­ing shelf today dur­ing lunch when I began to notice a pat­tern: I have quite a few books relat­ed to DITA and the under­ly­ing tech­nolo­gies of the DITA Open Toolk­it. Well, this isn’t by coin­ci­dence. It’s a big part of my job and… Con­tin­ue read­ing A DITA & DITA Open Toolk­it Read­ing List

Regular Expressions versus XSLT

Last week I came across an epic rant with­in a forum thread1 about why using reg­u­lar expres­sions for pars­ing XML is a bad idea. The <cen­ter> can­not hold it is too late. The force of regex and HTML togeth­er in the same con­cep­tu­al space will destroy your mind like so much watery put­ty. At first, I… Con­tin­ue read­ing Reg­u­lar Expres­sions ver­sus XSLT

Hacking the DITA-OT to Print Multiple Pages from a HTML Help File

Here’s one that took a lit­tle pok­ing around to fig­ure out. One of the many (nay, count­less) draw­backs of using HTML Help (.CHM files) is that print­ing from them is awful. Ide­al­ly, a user could print from the Help View­er to get a hard copy — or at least a .PDF copy — of the… Con­tin­ue read­ing Hack­ing the DITA-OT to Print Mul­ti­ple Pages from a HTML Help File

Designing User-Focused Context Sensitive Help

This pre­sen­ta­tion by Matthew Elli­son [Goog docs] giv­en at last year’s Aus­tralasian Online Doc­u­men­ta­tion and Con­tent Con­fer­ence (AODC 2009) has some excel­lent points on how to craft online help for con­text sen­si­tive calls. This is some­thing Bent­ley uses (a lot) and I’m try­ing to catch up on. There are real­ly a lot of excel­lent points… Con­tin­ue read­ing Design­ing User-Focused Con­text Sen­si­tive Help

Clarity Trumps Brevity

Dan Sil­ver­man does­n’t like his Avaya desk­top phone1 very much. He explains how its cryp­tic but­tons don’t real­ly pro­vide enough infor­ma­tion to make sense of their func­tion. He also includes this gem on what hap­pens when indus­tri­al design fails (which is almost always, to some extent): Yes, in the case of elec­tron­ic devices, the design… Con­tin­ue read­ing Clar­i­ty Trumps Brevity