Month: July 2009

Twitter Search in Plain English

Learn how Twitter Search creates new opportunities for business feedback, tracking news in real time and discovering trends. Watch the video below and then start thinking about how you might use Twitter Search. How Twitter Search creates new opportunities for business feedback, tracking news in real time and discovering trends. [youtube...

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Do Screen Captures Still Make Sense?

By Paul Masalsky, EMC Corporation Writing more simply helps keep content more manageable and can increase its usability. So why do we continue to litter content with screen captures, which can be difficult to manage and often duplicate what users already see in application interfaces? To understand potential issues with screen captures, consider a recent case from our XML authoring environment, where a writer tried to insert a screen capture into a table, but our PDF formatter couldn’t make the image fit. The following activity ensued: The writer spent time reducing the image size and improving its clarity. After modification, the image fit in the cell, but was too small to read. So the writer asked our tools team to increase the maximum table width. We asked the writer to consider removing the screen capture, because developing new conditional formatting for the table could take considerable time. The writer replaced the table with an ordered list, which allowed a larger image, but made the topic structure inconsistent with others in his book. So what’s wrong with this picture? The writer spent time trying to fit the screen capture into the table, and ultimately accepted a workaround that introduced an inconsistency. More work could eventually be needed to provide translated versions of the screen capture for localization. Could the writer have simply eliminated the screen capture while maintaining adequate usability?...

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Content Quality Survey For Organizations That Translate Customer-Facing Content

Content quality is an increasingly popular topic among content professionals. It’s an important subject that needs to be better understood, especially in organizations that serve a global audience. To assist in helping uncover some of the biggest content quality challenges, we’d like to know about content quality in your workplace. Take this brief, five-minute survey to help us determine the extent to which organizations that create and then translate customer-facing content are guided by content quality standards, methods, and tools. We’re also interested in learning what you think about the current state of content quality in your organization. Complete the entire survey and provide us with accurate contact information and you’ll be entered into our drawing! Respondents who meet this requirement will receive a summary of the survey results and get a chance to win a free content analysis service. Take the survey! Content quality is an increasingly popular topic among content professionals. It’s an important subject that needs to be better understood, especially in organizations that serve a global audience. To assist in helping uncover some of the biggest content quality challenges, we’d like to know about content quality in your workplace. Take this brief, five-minute survey to help us determine the extent to which organizations that create and then translate customer-facing content are guided by content quality standards, methods, and tools. We’re also interested in learning what...

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Understanding the Value of Modular Content Reuse by Examining User-Generated Music Mashups

The world we live in is changing at warp speed. Technological advances are altering our perception of what’s possible and challenging long held beliefs about how things work. Entire industries are being reshaped…some are being made obsolete. Traditional notions of how organizations operate — what they sell, what they charge, and how customers are supposed to behave — are being replaced by completely new models. Nowhere is the impact of change being felt more than in the world of communication. In the field of technical communication, for instance, practitioners are being challenged to adapt to a completely new approach to creating documentation and user-assistance materials. In this rapidly-changing arena, traditional content production practices are being replaced with modular, topic-based content production practices that allow organizations to recombine content elements — often automatically or on-demand — into new, derivative products. But, moving to a new approach can be painful. Content creators must learn new methods of writing content and understand the value they bring to their organization when they do so. One of the most challenging aspects of moving from creating unstructured, narrative content to topic-based, modular content creation is understanding the concept of content reuse. Reusing content — and repurposing it in different ways — helps organizations create totally new, often personalized, information products from existing content assets. These products can open the door to new revenue-generating opportunities, a...

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