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.

Creating a Successful Style Guide 

Sean Watson, ServiceNow
September 15, 2021

It’s a daunting task to create a style guide. Style guides contain grammar standards, voice and tone guidelines, words to use and avoid, copy patterns, and the basics of your product brand. These documents can easily end up being so tedious that they’re difficult to use, or so light that they don’t address needs. They can also become outdated quickly, rendering them irrelevant. Here are some ideas to create a successful style guide. […]

Do Productivity Hacks Really Work?

Headshot of a smiling women with dark hair and wearing dark framed classes Helene Segura, The Time Management Fixer
September 1, 2021

Productivity hacks and time management hacks are popular search terms on Google. Productivity and time management are topics that millions of people are interested in because they want to know how to be more effective and efficient with their time. Is there a better way to work? Is there a way to do more in less time? Is there a way to stop working around the clock? Do productivity hacks actually work? I get asked those questions all of the time because the go-getters I work with want to accomplish more, but they also want to have a life outside of work. […]

CIDM Sponsor Profile – Heretto

Heretto Logo - Letter H is capatilized and colorful - rest of letters are lower case in dark blueTim Ludwig
September 1, 2021

You may remember us as easyDITA, but we’re Heretto now. Here’s the how, why, and what of that change.

The original mission of easyDITA was to harness the power of structured content to improve technical communication. Years down the road, we did that.

But, why stop there?

As stewards of structured content, we’ve been called to make an impact beyond just technical communication. Our mission is expanded now, grown up a bit to encompass all knowledge content. […]

From a Content Writer to a Firefighter

Sairam Venugopalan, Qualcomm
August 1, 2021

Janaka had a technical degree to proudly hoot,
With erudite English acumen to boldly boot.
Even if it be that his semantic skills had no aberration,
They’d only been garnered as a medium of instruction.
This profile in the job jungle just shone brighter,
For him to don the hat of a technical content writer. […]

Survey on Preparing the Next Generation of Technical Communication Leaders and Innovators

Research Team:
Rebekka Andersen, University of California, Davis and Carlos Evia, Virginia Tech
July 15, 2021

Are you in a management role, having overseen the process of hiring one or more entry-level or advanced-level technical communicators within the past five years? 

If yes, please take this survey to help us think through how technical communication education might evolve to better prepare students for entry-level content jobs and future leadership roles in the profession of technical communication. We are interested in learning from experts like you how the profession is changing and what skills and competencies you look for in new hires and why.   […]

Localization & Translation Strategies

Kathy Madison, Comtech Services
July 1, 2021

Are you creating localization-friendly content?  How has your content strategy evolved to support multiple languages and cultures? What challenges have you faced, and how have you addressed them? How did you go about choosing your localization partner? What tools are you using to make it easier for your writers to create international content? These were just a few of the topics discussed during a recent CIDM member roundtable discussion. […]

Documentation Strategy for SaaS Products

Vaijayanti Nerkar and Priya Shetye, BMC Software 
July 1, 2021

A few years back when BMC Software decided to tap the SaaS markets, the company started to invest in developing cloud-based products. For more than 20 years the BMC Software products were quintessentially on-premises products thus, our documentation strategy was centered around delivering information for an on-premises model. When we entered the cloud-based markets, we quickly realized that we would need a new strategy for the SaaS products. The move to SaaS brought about a lot of changes around installations, upgrade policies, patch policies, and so on.  Thus, it became important to formulate a documentation strategy specific to SaaS products. We could tell that it was going to be very different from what we were using for 20 odd years. […]

Practical Tips for a Successful Content Transformation

Lindsay Baer and Kevin Bruckner, IBM 
June 15, 2021

Whether your content needs a simple refresh or a complete overhaul, it can be an overwhelming process to begin. Understanding where to start, what to prioritize, and how to meet the needs of your users can sometimes seem like a tall order. At IBM, our content team faced this situation as we sought to transform the technical documentation that was found in our Knowledge Center. This library housed millions of links to documentation used to run and maintain IBM Z, a powerful and complex enterprise platform used to power critical aspects of the global economy. When we realized a content transformation was needed, we knew it was essential to take our time and make sure we had a plan. What we learned through research, implementation, and iteration has helped us develop a general framework of questions that can be applied to future transformations. […]

CIDM Sponsor Profile – RWS

Shruti Deshpande
June 1, 2021

RWS is the global leader in content management and translation technology and services — 90 of the top 100 global companies work with us. Founded in 1958, RWS is headquartered in the UK and publicly listed on AIM, the London Stock Exchange regulated market (RWS.L). Over the last 60 years, the company has built a reputation for quality, reliability and flexibility with its global team of translators, researchers and technical experts. RWS’s specialist divisions combine the latest technology, proven processes and highly skilled staff to deliver complex services at each stage of the product lifecycle to meet the diverse needs of a global, blue-chip client base spanning Europe, North America and Asia. […]

Rationalization, not a Revelation, in Content Creation

Sairam Venugopalan, Qualcomm
May 15, 2021

Not until so long ago, information developers were hemming content, out of raw engineering source materials and scientific data, in a palatable form for consumption as full-blown printed manuals or wholesome portable books. It is true that several organizations continue to render their product literature as fully downloadable PDFs or compiled help files, alongside modular or layered documentation in the form of standalone topics as Web files. However, most of us will quickly concur that it was fairly easier to manufacture and maintain content for whole-blown containers or publications than to chunk and comb content for modular or tiered topics. […]

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