Communication from Down Under

Greetings, Earthlings.

As I indicated in my last post, it has been hard to write. Things seem too bleak, or simply too overwhelming to explain.

At last, I have something to communicate and share with you, that is both simple and hopeful. I have been in Melbourne, Australia for the last two weeks, visiting with friends I haven’t seen in years, and attending the conference of the World Federation of Associations for Teacher Education – WFATE, or World FATE as they like to call it, with good reason.

This conference has been spectacular in many ways, but right now I’m just going to write about one. Today, we went out to the town of Sunshine, in the outskirts of Melbourne. They say it is the most diversified municipality in all Australia. We were there to visit an art gallery.

Continue reading “Communication from Down Under”
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Adobe FrameMaker 2015: Traditional Future

Adobe’s newest suite of technical communication products, TCS 6, has just appeared, all new and squeaky clean, with its lead products rebranded as “2015 Releases.” I’ll write again later about the suite as a whole, but this post is specifically about FrameMaker.

FrameMaker is arguably the lead product in this suite, and its 2015 incarnation is one that finds inspiration in its original roots – going back to the source – and in a firm vision of a multichannel, multiscreen, multimodal future.

It seems to be the year for abundance of new and genuinely useful features in tech comm editors, and FrameMaker boasts its share of ’em. I’m sure lots of other bloggers and reviewers will enumerate them for you, and evaluate their implementation or their overall utility. I’m interested in writing about the impact of some of these new features, and what that means for two futures – a future in our profession that is a quickly moving target full of unknowns, and a future for the application itself that might be surprising.

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The Evolution of oXygen 17

For the last few weeks, I’ve had a chance to play with the beta of oXygen 17, which has just been released by publisher SyncRO Soft. In keeping with my previous post, I’m going to focus on how the software is evolving. However, since there are a good 80 new features in this release, I can’t avoid doing a bit of feature listing

My previous look at oXygen 14.2 also served as a general product review. Since then, this top class XML Editor has continued to evolve toward the non-specialist user in two ways. It makes XML editing easier for people who don’t know anything about XML and don’t want or need to, and it also provides easier access to the XML structure for those who do.

Not only that, this new release goes a long way toward making the job of developers who want to customize oXygen much easier, while retaining the features that make it popular with geeks and specialists. Continue reading “The Evolution of oXygen 17”

Transformation Society Collaborations with Adobe: Comprehensive Links

Update, 17 September 2015: Adobe has a new platform for its recorded webinars. Links to the recordings are now updated and will work correctly.

It is important to follow the Instructions for viewing them, which is also updated.

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As Promised, here is a full set of links to the materials for two series of collaborations between The Transformation Society and Adobe Technical Communications Division. Enjoy!Logo_transformationSociety_Small

  • 2013: Crossing Boundaries: Implications for the Content Industries
  • 2014: Tech Challenges: Surfing and Diving Deeplogo_unit_1.5x1.5

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TCS 5: Adobe’s Bold Move

At the beginning of 2014 Adobe released Technical Communication Suite 5, with new versions of all its key software elements.

As I mentioned in a recent post, I’ve been asked to blog on a lot of subjects. This is one. I’m not going to review TCS 5, or enumerate the new features, many competent people have done that already long ago. I am going to talk about what I think is a major move by Adobe in this release. It’s a good move, in my view, and one that is not without risk to the company.

Full Disclosure

I work with Adobe, and they asked me to review their software, to which they give me access without charge. No one in my position is going to write a negative review and publish it. However, if I did not have positive things to say about this software, I would simply not write about it at all. In any case, this is not a review, and the opinions in this post are my own, and are not influenced by Adobe or anyone else. As always, I reserve  the right to my own independent opinion, and that’s what you’re getting here.

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My Next Webinar – Join me for “Building Loyalty by Product Design – When customers become stakeholders”

Thursday, 14 August at 14:00 CEST, 1:00 pm BST, 8:00 am EDT

My next free webinar takes a content strategist’s approach to the use of social media to feed back into product design and build customer loyalty.

Once a customer buys your product or service, it becomes the main communications channel with your company. That means that the content contained in your product (interfaces, messages, manuals, ergonomics and esthetic design, etc.) must be on message with the rest of your content strategy. One way to build that message, and improve product design in the process, is to build true integrated communities of stakeholders that include your customers as equal players with your internal teams: design, development, marketing, management, etc.

These communities are far from a simple Facebook page, or “user forum.” They require attention, care, and feeding, and the reward is a degree of loyalty money can’t buy.

Sign up to attend

An Open Letter to my STC Colleagues

Update: Most of you will already know that I was re-elected with a nice proportion of the vote. Unfortunately, participation in this year’s STC election was slightly down from last year, at 14.98%. I had really hoped that more STC members would vote.

 

Dear Fellow STC Members,

As you know, voting began today for the STC Elections. Most of you know I’m a candidate for re-election, but this is not about my candidacy. This is a plea for you to cast your vote – for whomever you think is the best candidate.

Last year, only 16% of our members voted. This is more or less average for association elections these days, but I wonder if we can’t do better.

I remember before I became involved in Society governance, that the elections seemed distant to me. I didn’t recognize candidates’ names, they were folks across the ocean. I knew little or nothing about society affairs, and it all seemed unimportant to me. Then I began reading the candidates’ statements. Honestly, that only brought society matters a little closer to me. There was no grand ephiphany. But just reading the candidates’ positions on issues that maybe I only partly understood helped me to get a sense of who they were. And once I did that, I started to make choices about which of them I wanted to see on the board of directors.

Today, STC faces many difficult issues, and though we have made progress, we are not out of the woods. Fortunately, all the candidates are dedicated people who care deeply about STC and its future. Each has a slightly different vision of what that might be and how to get there – and your selection will determine the course that STC takes in the next year or two.

I urge you, then, to please take the time to read all the candidate statements, make your own independent choice, and cast your ballot. If we can raise the number of voters, we automatically raise the strength of the mandate our winning candidates receive.

Like any candidate, I hope folks vote for me – but I prefer for you to vote for another candidate than to abstain from voting. Please don’t wait – take some time to learn about each of us, and add your voice. You, as an STC member, will be the beneficiary.