CIDM Matters

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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.

August CIDM Roundtable: User-Generated Content

headshot of smiling women with short dark hair

Dana Aubin, Comtech Services
September 1, 2022

CIDM members shared their experiences and questions about user-generated content at last month’s roundtable. Our definition of user-generated content included community portals, discussion forums, YouTube videos, social media posts, tweets, articles, blogs, podcasts, and other content created by the users of a product or service and shared online. During our discussion, this definition expanded to include both customer-generated and developer-generated content.

In our last trends survey in 2020, less than 3 percent of those surveyed responded that their companies allowed users to contribute content directly to the website or portal. Around 7 percent allowed users to add curated content. However, 66 percent of companies didn’t allow customers to contribute content. When we looked back at the surveys from 2017 through 2019, results have only changed a percent or two. […]

DITA TC Wants You!

profile headshot of a smiling women with short grey hair and glasses

Kristen James Eberlein
Chair, OASIS DITA Technical Committee
Owner, Eberlein Consulting LLC
August 15, 2022

The DITA Technical Committee (TC) is looking for new voting members. This is an excellent opportunity to get involved with the DITA TC community.

In order to become a DITA TC voting member, you need to meet the following qualifications:

  • Have an OASIS membership. You can acquire an OASIS membership if you work for a company that already is an OASIS member, if you can coax your company to join OASIS, or if you can join OASIS as an individual. (A list of companies that are OASIS members is found here.)
  • Commit to regularly attend DITA TC meetings, which are held every Tuesday at 11 AM-noon ET, and participate in the work of the TC. This requires a commitment of at least 4-6 hours per month.


Agile Tips for Writing Teams

headshot of smiling woman with long dark hair and glassesMary Dickens, Connectbase
August 1, 2022

Documentation teams are often faced with writing for multiple engineering teams, releases, and products compared to development teams which often have a singular area of focus on a product. It can be challenging to organize and bring together a team with members having different areas of responsibility or who are siloed from one another. Using Agile can help as it is a method designed to respond to change and handle constantly changing environments such as juggling multiple engineering teams with rolling releases. While it is more commonly associated with engineering and development teams it can be used by non-engineering teams as well. […]

Rich Media, Delivering the Right Amount

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Vaijayanti Nerkar, BMC Software
August 1, 2022

In recent years, rich media has grown to be a popular method of delivering end-user information. In this article, we describe what rich media consists of; discuss what influences decisions for choosing rich media, and analyze whether more rich media results in better end-user satisfaction.  […]

Unconscious Bias Creep in Technical Writing

headshot of a smiling women with long dark hair and a diamond stud nose earringheadshot of a smiling women with long dark hairAnita Chaudhari and Vidya Vasudevan, VMware
July 15, 2022

As technical writers, we don different hats at different stages of producing technical content. We interact with people who perform various roles and have varying degrees of technical capabilities. Our audiences are of different genders, are from different geographical locations, different religions, cultures, and ethnicities, and might have different disabilities.

As writers, we do audience analysis, plan, design, and document our content accordingly. So where are the gaps? What we might be overlooking are the biases that creep in. […]

Dynamic Content – From Personalization to Individualization

Headshot of a smiling women with long flowing dark hairAnu Singh, Fiserv
July 1, 2022

Ever wondered what is the hidden cost associated with searching website content?
Frustrated users. High bounce-off rate. Cumbersome content navigation and the forever wait time for the useful content. Yes, all of these, and all these experiences can come together as a package for various website users leaving them as irate customers.

User experience with the personalized content makes a compelling case for generating content recommendations dynamically based on a user’s historic behavior and preferences. These experiences also reinforce the need for creating and curating relevant content as the content personalization does not build a longer relationship with users if your content is not relevant to them or requires efforts for searching the content your users need when they need it. For example, in a real-time situation, try imagining the frustration of an IT administrator receiving instructions or navigating through information created for using a teller machine to conduct a transaction when they need instructions for configuring a software. […]

CIDM Sponsor Profile – Fluid Topics

Fluid Topics' logoGéraldine Boulez
June 15, 2022


Remember when you needed paper maps to go on a road trip? You followed the route but were never sure what was ahead. Now you plug your destination into Google Maps and go. You get information in real-time and navigate around traffic and problems automatically. Is your organization using the equivalent of paper maps for its technical documentation?

In today’s digital age, tech companies understand that documentation is necessary for their business and expend significant time and money on its production and maintenance. While most companies produce good and exhaustive documentation, when it comes to delivery, they still offer pre-generated, one-size-fits-all static documentation. […]

JoAnn Hackos Honored by STC

Kathy Madison, Comtech Services
June 1, 2022

JoAnn Hackos, founder of Comtech Services and The Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM), received the President’s Award during the 2022 STC Summit. The President’s Award honors those who have made distinguished contributions to the profession of technical communication or the Society.

Here’s what Kirsty Taylor, President STC 2021-2022, said during the award presentation:


Adopting a Data-driven Content Strategy

Headshot of a smiling women with long dark straight hairAditi Kashikar, Automation Anywhere
June 1, 2022

Why be data-driven?

Data is a critical element to scaling your organization’s content strategy because data gives you access to insights and metrics that can objectively demonstrate the value your content brings to your customers. Without data and insights, it is difficult to gauge if your users are getting to the content they need, and finding it complete, relevant, and accurate to achieve their goals. Data is a useful tool to quantify success metrics for your internal content improvement initiatives and benchmark if they are producing the desired outcomes and overall ROI (return on investment). […]

The Quizzical Lament of a Technical Document

Sairam Venugopalan, Qualcomm
May 1, 2022

Dogu is an inanimate inhabitant in the scientific literature mansion,
With its amusing nickname arising from a Documented & Guide fusion.
At least, we know we aren’t characterizing any creature,
That exists in live and true form to feel any pressure. […]


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