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.

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. […]

Empowering the Seekers

Suyog Ketkar, Autodesk
December 1, 2019

If it is true that our work defines us, then technical communicators and jugglers are alike. Just that we play toss-and-catch between project deadlines, tools, requirements, meetings, and even products. Writing is only an aftereffect of our juggling. Which is why problem-solving may take backstage. We don’t always essay to address what the seekers require, but what our design and development teams have to offer. Through this article, I put forth the questions that came up in a recent coffee-table interaction on how we could fill this gap. […]

Hidden Costs of Content Conversion: Writer Resources

Sabine Ocker, Comtech Services
December 1, 2019

Moving to DITA from an unstructured publishing environment is no small feat.  The project has many workstreams and the average migration and implementation project can take up to two years. The main aspect of any migration project is the conversion of existing content into DITA XML files. […]

Managing Risk: Sample DITA Collections

Stanley Doherty, Ph.D., Oracle Corporation & OASIS DITA Adoption Technical Committee
November 15, 2019

As change initiatives go, DITA is often described as being “highly beneficial and highly disruptive” for the organizations adopting it or making ongoing investments in it. As anyone who has been involved with a DITA migration or upgrade will attest, the “disruptions” always precede the “benefits”. Although a risk analysis should be at the heart of every DITA migration or upgrade initiative, we do not have a shared vocabulary for assessing it. […]

Can I use it? Get started with web accessibility

Desiree Livermon, Genesys
November 15, 2019

What do you think of when you hear the word “accessibility”? For many people, it evokes images of wheelchair ramps, automatic doors, and maybe some braille in the elevator. For content developers, it mostly makes us think of screen readers. But there is more to accessibility than a robotic voice parroting the words you have written. […]

VMware’s Quality Campaign

Jane Wilson, VMware
November 1, 2019

It’s always frustrating to hear about our deliverables, “The documentation is bad.” Beyond the fact that it’s negative, that simple statement is not actionable. There are no specifics about what part of the documentation is “bad,” much less what’s wrong with it or what “bad” means. Follow-up questions might lead to a little more detail: “I just hear it’s bad,” or “A customer told me it’s bad.” Obviously, this is not helpful in trying to address, much less fix, the problem. […]