Welcome to the STC Southern Nevada chapter blog!
Technical writers in the desert? Why, yes, of course!
Last month, if you remember, I revealed my 1-minute YouTube as a “microlearning” proof-of-concept (POC) for more mobile, on-the-go eLearning. But I hadn’t plunged into Adobe Captivate too deeply yet. Well, a few weeks later, I finally finished my first eLearning beta module (of about 12) in Adobe Captivate! While I wasn’t too strict about tracking my hours, I’m guessing that I spent about 30-40 hours to adjust the script and audio, design the look-and-feel, and edit the final 1-minute session.
In the last few weeks, I’ve had the unique opportunity to investigate the popular eLearning authoring tool, Adobe Captivate, as an exciting new way to deliver our content. But before I investigated too far into Captivate, I first wanted to finish up another older proof-of-concept (POC) that I started in Sept-Oct 2015, assembled 90% of it, but never had the time to finish. That is, until this past weekend. I finally finished my 1-minute “microlearning” POC for more mobile, on-the-go eLearning.
Recently, while catching up on old PDF issues of Intercom, the monthly magazine by STC, I found a February 2015 article that advocates a “delightful” approach for technical docs. In his article, Barry Grenon observes that technical writers “default to a formal style” that sounds robotic and encourages “remaining invisible”. By focusing on cost and maintenance, writers fail to engage or delight users. But let me ask you this: How do you know if you’ve forgotten to “delight users”?
Let’s be honest. Technical writer isn’t the sexiest job title. We don’t get the fanciest gadgets or the largest piece of the budget. It’s not a job that a grade-school or high-school student looks up to the first thing in the morning, assuming he or she knows what it is. In fact, even grown-ups don’t necessarily aspire to be technical writers or consider the job to be their first career choice. More often than not, it’s the other way around. Folks don’t seek to be tech writers; it’s the tech writing job that seeks them. As an information developer — which sounds only slightly sexier than technical writer — with a Civil Engineering degree, I can definitely identify with that point of view.
What if a new web standard emerged where HTML tags were no longer the basic building blocks? What if the new building blocks were widget-like components that rendered visual effects in a single custom tag or attribute that formerly required dozens or hundreds of tags and attributes? This is where Web Components step in, a new set of W3C standards being developed by Google. Based on these Web Components standards, Polymer is a growing library of pre-built reusable components also being developed by Google…
Why should my watch necessarily remind me of my phone? In our current era of socio-mobile technology, it’s so easy to become hypnotized, mesmerized, and inspired by the vision of connecting everything to the latest technological center of our lives — our smartphones. In fact, until recently, I myself was drawn to the idea of buying a Pebble smartwatch to connect to my Samsung smartphone. It sounded pretty cool. Until I rediscovered analog watches. How? Let’s find out.