CIDM Matters

CIDM Matters is an electronic newsletter published on the 1st and 15th of every month. Browse these articles published in CIDM Matters or subscribe to the newsletter by selecting the “Join Us” option on the navigation bar.

The Content Makes the Experience

Sabine Ocker, Comtech Services
April 1, 2020

As we continue to shift from features and functions to a more unified product user experience, more technical writers and user experience teams are partnering closely together.

Everything that involves people interacting with something is a part of the user experience, and much of that experience starts with reading. We do a lot of telling users what we want them to do. Click here. View this. Buy now. Do this task.


Unpacking Authoring Practices in DITA (Part 1)

Nolwenn Kerzreho, IXIASOFT
March 15, 2020

Some writers and specialists claim it’s too difficult to write in DITA and that the learning curve is too steep. Some other specialists and documentation managers claim that they can start new hires writing in DITA in a couple of hours. This article is the first part of a series of posts about writing practices that authors must adapt, adopt, or shed.

There is a lot of confusion about how difficult writing in DITA can be and this article’s goal is to clarify the challenges for information developers and technical writers alike. […]

Three Things You Can do to Increase the Value of Your Content Strategy

Sabine Ocker, Comtech Services
March 1, 2020

If you already have the attention and support of upper management for your DITA migration project, then you can pat yourself on the back and stop reading this article. But if you are still working on gaining traction in your organization, then here are three suggestions on how you can increase the value of your content strategy. […]

Collecting Meaningful Metrics

Leticia Guzzetta, Sr. Technical Communications Manager, Cadence Design
February 15, 2020

Gathering and analyzing data to outline metrics can be a waste of time and effort if you don’t have a plan or goal of what you want to achieve with your metrics. It is just collecting meaningless data without a purpose. As leaders, we must define and show our capabilities and successes, which can be demonstrated via metrics or Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). Also, our metric messaging must be crisp, clear, meaningful, and targeted to achieve the results we aim for.

In short, it is about Messaging your story with a clear viewpoint and purpose. Like all good stories, you begin with an outline or a plan to achieve your goal. The outline becomes your framework of how you will define and shape your story. […]

BOTI Conference: A Talk Show on Technical Information

Thomas Härdelin, TIFF
February 15, 2020

A conference on technical information has been organised for the tenth time. This is the sixth year that the Swedish Industry Organization for Technical Information (BOTI) has been the organiser. The conference was aimed at anyone who works in, or is interested in, the technical information industry. In addition to lectures, the conference offered a trade fair with companies in the technical information industry as well as opportunities to share experiences with others within the industry. This year the presentation was somewhat different, that is to say, in the form of a talk show led by Rickard Olsson. […]

How UX is Transforming Content

Fawn Damitio, Juniper Networks
February 1, 2020

How people learn and consume information is swiftly changing and we, as technical communicators, must adapt. This article explores changes over the past decade in how people live and think, how these changes impact our role as technical communicators, and how UX and a modernized approach to content can help us thrive in this new world. […]

Ok Boomer — Are Technical Communicators Ready to Write for Digital Native Users?

Sabine Ocker, Comtech Services
February 1, 2020

In 2001, Marc Prensky coined the term “digital native” to describe a generation who grew up with technologies such as computers, video games, and the internet, vs. those of us who came of age during the print era, which he described as “digital immigrants.” As digital immigrants, we’ve learned the language of technology, but people born in 1980 and later are the native speakers of that language. […]

Saying Goodbye to a Comtech Colleague

Comtech Services
February 1, 2020

We are sad to announce that Marie-Louise Flacke, from Lannion, France passed away on January 16, 2020. Marie-Louise attended our first DITA Europe Conference in 2005 and had been a regular speaker and attendee to that conference ever since. She’s presented about everything from DITA and IoT, Becoming a CX Expert, Troubleshooting, and Minimalism and its application in DITA. For many years, she represented Comtech as an instructor, teaching the principles of Minimalism in French. […]

The Chatbot Revolution — a Whimper not a Bang

Sabine Ocker, Comtech Services
January 15, 2020

Since at least the end of 2017, we have been hearing that the chatbot revolution is coming. But there have been only rumors and hints of upcoming implementations. We hear of some chatbots being implemented, but almost exclusively in the marketing content domains with limited applicability to customer support or technical product documentation. Apologies to T.S. Eliot, but the chatbot bang has not happened. […]

Learning to Enjoy the Process of Writing Useful Release Notes

Shwetha Madhan, VMware
January 15, 2020

As an information developer at VMware, I write all kinds of technical documentation – including the Workspace ONE UEM release notes. To create these release notes, I pull together new feature blurbs crafted by other writers and consolidate all of them into a new document. When I took over this task a few releases ago, I observed a common pattern. All the “What’s New” blurbs had a classic stand-up language: “Added support for XYZ”, “Added X and Y field under Z”, and so on. I wondered — why? Why is the text treating me like a robot? Do real people talk like this? During a stand-up, it’s normal to talk directly about the code that is written, but that information isn’t particularly useful for the end-user. Stand-up verbiage only results in opaque, impenetrable content. […]