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.

BOLO – Unforeseen Distractions

Dawn Prunty, Commscope
May 1, 2020

My first opportunity to work from home as a freelance writer occurred years ago. At the time, a local publication had a list of suggestions for anyone new to working at home. The writer provided different scenarios and circumstances at-home workers could face and suggested anticipating your needs (supplies, technology) and establishing boundaries for family and friends. You were to inform family and friends that you were working at home and not to be disturbed unless it was a real emergency. “You are not available to run errands — you are at work.” There was also a sort of BOLO (Be On the Look Out) list that warned about distractions (like house chores, tv, and again non-urgent calls from friends and family). […]

Writers and Developers: The Dynamic Duo

Shwetha Madhan, VMware
April 15, 2020

When developers and technical writers work well together, they both take advantage of their relationship and bring out the best in each other. This article highlights the value of an efficient collaboration which can improve the quality of the documentation. […]

Enhancing Customer Experience of Content by Tapping into Test Plans and Tech-Support

Sairam Venugopalan, Qualcomm
April 15, 2020

We’re increasingly being shrouded with the chime that ‘customer is king’, ‘customer satisfaction scores are pivotal’, ‘understand your customers in the same vein as you fathom your products’, and ‘engage more with customers for outside-in writing’. While all of these are critical for the success of user-facing product documentation, we have, at least, a couple of treasure troves, amidst the plethora of our day-to-day tools and practices, that we can cash upon. Exploiting those hidden reserves does not require separate company funding or extra-departmental budget allocation to improve customer interaction with the content we create. […]

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. […]