12 tips from UX designers that Techcomm folks should know too

Next to API docs, UI/UX is one of the fastest growing sub-domains in technical writing. Not surprising, because documentation contributes to the user experience and explain how to use a product’s user interface.

In May, I spotted an article by Robert Hoekman, Jr. that I’ve now read several times. He called it a “UX Reality Check” for designers. It’s easy to get distracted by your product and forget to look at the world through your user’s eyes.

As I read through, several points stood out as being just as applicable to technical documentation. Here are the bullet points from the article that stood out to me the most. Continue reading “12 tips from UX designers that Techcomm folks should know too”

Released: Arbortext 102 Best Practices for Creating Arbortext Styler Stylesheets

Arbortext 102 (AMG #2)Announcing the release of Arbortext 102: Best Practices for Creating Arbortext Styler Stylesheets.

The second book in the Arbortext Monster Garage series, Arbortext 102 is the second book about Arbortext and the first book about creating and publishing with Styler. Written in DITA using Arbortext Editor and published with Arbortext Styler, Arbortext 102 gives step-by-step instructions about rapid stylesheet development.

This book has been tested by customers, who have wanted to take control of their stylesheets and have! Today, what was once only available to our customers is now available to everyone.

And, to celebrate the release of Arbortext 102, we are offering Arbortext 101 for 99¢ today only!  Get your copy at Amazon today.

Publish High-Quality, Print-Ready DITA in less than a day

Summary: Everyone says, “Publishing DITA is Hard!” But the truth is you can publish DITA content for ePub and Print output with very little work. The promise that vendors (like us) have been giving for 20 years is real today. I published Arbortext 101 in less than one day for less than $1400 all-in and I’m including software, time, and effort. A 100% indie published book. I did it and so can you. Here’s how.

My first book went live this morning: Arbortext 101. It is also the first book about Arbortext that was not published by PTC.* Arbortext is an extremely simple XML authoring and publishing suite of programs. It’s got an editor, a styling tool, a server-based publishing application, and a content management system. It’s 20 years old this year.

In my career, I’ve used nearly all of the XML/SGML tools out there. I like different tools for different purposes. I’m a big fan of the “right tool for the job” as it were. When I approached the project, I decided that I’d distill the 5000+ pages of technical documentation that gets published with the product into a short book that documents the best practices that we’ve developed over the 15 years as users and customers of Arbortext.

A couple of things happened close together…

Continue reading “Publish High-Quality, Print-Ready DITA in less than a day”