Top 5 tech writing posts in 2011

Here are the 5 most popular posts on Kai’s Tech Writing Blog in 2011. After my Top 3 tech comm lessons, this is the second “year in review” posts.

Kai’s Tech Writing Blog takes a break now and will be back in 2012. I thank each one of you for reading and commenting; I’m happy and proud to be part of such a stimulating professional community, and I’m a better tech writer for it!

5. 2011 megatrend in technical communications

In January, I mashed up three predictions by Sarah O’Keefe into one megatrend:

I think this year’s megatrend for technical communicators and their managers, especially employed ones, is to position tech comm as a business in its own right – or to be redundant in the long run.

4. Learn about DITA in a couple of hours

I still think the best way, if you have two hours, is to read Ann Rockley’s DITA 101, second edition, which I reviewed:

The book excels in firmly embedding DITA’s technologies and workflows in the larger context of structured writing and topic-based authoring. … I recommend that you read it if you are involved in a project to implement DITA, writing or translating documentation in a DITA environment or managing technical writers

3. Improve documentation with quality metrics

This is my only post this year with a visual cue inspired by a Marx Brothers’ movie! 🙂

Quality metrics for technical communication are difficult, but necessary and effective. They are difficult because you need to define quality standards and then measure compliance with them. They are necessary because they reflect the value add to customers (which quantitative metrics usually don’t). And they are effective because they are the only way to improve your documentation in a structured way in the long run.

2. 5 steps from legacy documentation to topics

The company I work for set off to migrate its documentation to topic-based authoring:

To move to topic-based authoring, you need to convert existing documentation into topics. The efforts shouldn’t be underestimated, but it’s actually a pretty straightforward process. I’m describing how to convert sections in manuals, but it’s much the same for most content, whether it’s FAQs, wiki articles, training materials, etc.

1. Top 4 benefits of writing a tech comm blog

As I entered my second year of blogging, I reflected on the reasons and benefits of Kai’s Tech Writing Blog:

1. Improve ideas
2. Connect with the community
3. Picture progress
4. Write regularly

Your turn

What was your favourite tech writing blog post, on this blog or elsewhere? Feel free to leave a comment.