What the f*ck is UX Writing? – Prototyping: From UX to Front End

You’ve probably heard of UX Designers, Product Managers, User Researchers, Marketing Directors, Creatives, and plenty more I’m sure… but…

Source: What the f*ck is UX Writing? – Prototyping: From UX to Front End

Thanks to Craig Cardimon for finding this article and posting it on Twitter.

This is a great article about what UX writing is about.  This is what I did for about six months last year for a global insurance company, where I worked on their global customer portal.  It sounds like something that would be rather easy. Sometimes it was, and sometimes it wasn’t. Fortunately, between my fellow UX writer, myself, and the rest of the UX teach of information architects and designers, we came up with some really high quality content that I imagine is now out there in the world.  Part of what this article doesn’t include is that it’s not only research, writing, and design involved, but there’s also editing and documenting the process. A good chunk of what we created was not only the work that would be seen by the customers, but also style guides and other documentation to ensure that there was a consistency in the product between writers. My work would look like my co-writer’s work, and vice-versa.

What do you think? Do you think UX writing is a specific type of writing compared to some other types of technical writing? Include your comments below.

–TechCommGeekMom

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Users or people with Jack Molisani – Content Content episode 15 – Ed Marsh

Jack Molisani, president of ProSpring Staffing and Executive Director of The LavaCon Content Strategy Conference talks about technical communication hiring, rebranding, content strategy, and how he’s seized opportunities his entire career. Mentioned in this episode: Jack on Twitter Jack’s book: Be the Captain of Your Career: A New Approach to Career Planning and Advancement Andrea … Continue reading Users or people with Jack Molisani – Content Content episode 15 →

Source: Users or people with Jack Molisani – Content Content episode 15 – Ed Marsh

Another episode of Content Content is out! Hooray! And with Jack Molisani? It’s definitely a lively conversation, no doubt! Go to the source link just above these lines.  Content Content is always good!

–TechCommGeekMom

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TechCommGeekMom, where have you been? The Delta Quadrant?

I know you haven’t been in the Delta Quadrant. So where have you been?

OK, so it’s been a while. I know. While I wish I could say that I’ve been on an Intrepid-class Federation starship named the U.S.S. Voyager, sadly that is not the case.

It’s a little hard to be writing blog posts when a) you don’t know exactly what to say after having written hundreds of posts before, and b) you’re just REALLY busy.

2016 was a rough year, but 2017 has also had its challenges so far.  You know that I’m always in some sort of work search mode, and that’s already had its ups and downs for the past few months.  I was excited to get my first independent contract. It was an opportunity to finally flex my e-learning muscles, and do it on my terms.  I started to create a curriculum matrix,  to make storyboards, to write transcripts, test questions, and study guides, and created video training–21 completed videos in about a month. But the contract ended before the full project was completed, and I don’t know what will be happening going forward. There was a big learning curve involved, and after the fact, I’ve realized where I made some wrong moves, but I also learned where I made many right moves as well.  I’ve been mastering TechSmith’s Camtasia during this time, and feel pretty comfortable with it now. I sometimes feel I missed out on one of my many callings as a video editor (although you never know–that might change going forward).  I know that I was producing good content, if I say so myself, so I have to be satisfied with that for now.

I also was the co-chair of the STC-Philadelphia Metro Chapter (STC-PMC)’s annual CONDUIT conference.  Thankfully, that came off with few hitches, and it was well received by everyone I heard from. Some people hadn’t been to the conference in years, and it was a great opportunity for them to see how our conference has grown!  Next year, at this point, it looks like I’ll be the main chair for the event, so it’s going to feel a little overwhelming, I’m sure. Just being co-chair felt overwhelming at times, while trying to work with client deadlines. It stressed me out enough that I even got physically sick for a while. For CONDUIT, the payoff is worth it, and I hope that everyone who is reading this considers coming as a presenter or attendee for next year.

Oh, and I can’t forget that I’ve been studying my DITA by helping someone who is writing a book about it, and I was asked to contribute edits as a beginner who wanted to ensure that they understood the author’s instructions.  That was cool, and helpful.

Kim: Is she kidding us? Overwhelming?
Paris: That’s what she claims. Who am I to argue?

All through this time, as I said, it’s been a bit overwhelming. I realized some missteps with all of it the hard way, as I usually do, but thankfully I have a lot of good people who help me get back up and fight another day. (Photon torpedos are loaded, Captain.)

I spoke to veteran tech comm consultants at CONDUIT and through Single-Sourcing Solutions’ TC Conclave, as well as just talking to other technical communicators when I had the opportunity offline.  All have provided me with advice about how to move forward in the future as an independent consultant, and massaged my ego just enough, knowing how battered and bruised I felt at times.  For that, thanks to all of you. You know who you are.  This is why I get involved with the STC and with other technical communicators.  Five years of networking is finally paying off–you know me, I know you, and I can learn more about things that they don’t teach you in grad school. I benefit from your experiences and I’m grateful.

Kim: I think we should take a ship-wide survey or start a betting pool on what she’ll do next. Who’s in?

So now the question is…what do I do going forward? I’m in limbo once again with timing, figuring out what to do next. At this writing, I’ve decided to lay low for a couple of weeks. I’m concentrating on my VP duties for the STC-PMC for the rest of this program year (two more main events to go right now!), reworking my consultancy’s website (a project temporarily postponed when I started my contract in February), and doing a little bit of project hunting, but nothing too deep just yet.  I have a few leads on things, but I’ve always been hesitant to “count my chickens before they are hatched,” as the saying goes. I’m looking forward to attending the STC Summit in a few weeks in Washington, DC.  I’m getting excited about going, because I realize that it’ll be nonstop tech comm for me almost from the moment I get there! I’ll be with my tribe! I plan to take advantage of seeing all my STC friends–and making new ones as well–in the hopes that my continued networking will help me build my business. I’m looking at things through a slightly different perspective now.

In some ways, I’m still scared to death being “on my own”.  Having survived through my first experience without an agency, though, was exhilarating, and I liked being my own boss and calling most of the shots, and determining how things should be done.  I was able to validate that in many ways, I’m still on the right track, even if things are slow-going right now.

Kim: Captain, there’s something out there!
Janeway: I need a better description than that, Mr. Kim!

I still have a very long way to go, but I’ll find my way eventually. Sometimes I feel like the very green Ensign Kim, who has some knowledge, but still finding my place while trying to make a difference. Sometimes I feel like Captain Janeway, where I feel like I can lead and figure out what needs to be done. There will be Borg, Kazon, Vidiians, and Hirogen to battle along the way, I’m sure. Hopefully my persistence moving forward will get me where I need to go, even if it takes a while.

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Bringing WW1 battlefields to life with virtual reality – BBC News

Virtual reality tours of WW1 battlefields offer students a different type of history lesson.

Source: Bringing WW1 battlefields to life with virtual reality – BBC News

You often hear in content marketing and other related technical writing about how content is about storytelling. Virtual reality (VR) is opening up new avenues of storytelling in e-learning. This BBC News link goes to a video that talks about how students are being taught about World War One through immersive storytelling that has a historian who narrates and acts as a guide through the fields of Somme, and puts them in the trenches at the same time. The student response is fantastic.

How are you creating your content? VR is already popular in the gaming world–how can you use it for other applications in technical writing? I bet there are loads of ways.

What you do think of VR? The future, or a passing fad? Include your comments below.

–TechCommGeekMom

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“Innovative” IBM Kills Working from Home | Bruce Kasanoff | Pulse | LinkedIn

Less than a year into her tenure as IBM’s Chief Marketing Officer, Michelle Peluso has announced that her thousands of marketing team members must now

Source: “Innovative” IBM Kills Working from Home | Bruce Kasanoff | Pulse | LinkedIn

Here’s another recent article that’s supporting why companies have to really reconsider the “all or nothing” approach to remote work and telecommuting. I think the arguments that the author of this article has made goes beyond costs. I know that moving to another area of the world (let alone my state or my country) is out of the question right now, so I depend on companies that are more willing to be open-minded and innovative to understand that I can contribute from where I am sitting in Central NJ just the same way that I would in their office. I really like the arguments made by Mr. Kasanoff in this article, and I hope other company executives pay attention to what he says here.

What do you think? Is this a compelling argument? Add your comments below.

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The Real Reason You’re Not Allowed To Work From Home

Years ago pundits predicted that most white-collar employees would be working from home by now. Why isn’t that the case?

Source: The Real Reason You’re Not Allowed To Work From Home

I always enjoy Liz Ryan’s articles, and this is another gem.  All of the reasons that she’s listed here is exactly why the fear exists. Some of it is founded, but most of it isn’t founded. Managers don’t seem to always understand that people are not goofing off when they work remotely. Sure, they might be able to take a moment to rotate the laundry instead of a long coffee break, but what’s the harm in that? Most studies have shown that remote workers actually get more done and put more actual work time in than if they worked in the office in most cases. In a day and age when you can talk to anyone globally via Skype or similar conferencing tools, text, IM, email, or even phone someone, why restrict them and force them to come to the office if they are being productive and creating the output you need? I find this especially true for technical communicators, and I know this to be true of 99% of the work I’ve ever had to do.

What do you think? Include your comments below.

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Hiring Trends in UX Design: The 6 Things You Need to Know About Tech’s Fastest Growing Field | Creative Cloud blog by Adobe

Adobe set out to uncover the latest hiring trends in UX design and the results point to one big conclusion: ‘UX designers’ are now as in demand as software engineers, and that demand is only going to increase.

Source: Hiring Trends in UX Design: The 6 Things You Need to Know About Tech’s Fastest Growing Field | Creative Cloud blog by Adobe

A good, short article put out by Adobe. In my short turn as a technical writer for a UX/UI Design team, I think one thing they appreciated about me was that I did have an understanding of how UX should work, and the information architect/UX designers were often open to suggestions. I often looked at their work as something I probably would’ve enjoyed doing if I had more experience on Axure or another wireframing tool. (Still playing with a few different ones when I have the chance.)

As technical writing become more and more visual, even with things like buttons to select or abridged text for mobile devices, having a strong UX foundation–even if you aren’t a UX designer–is pretty important these days. You don’t need to be a designer yourself to understand good design, just like you don’t have to be a painter or sculptor or writer to appreciate and understand good art or a good book.

When you have a chance, look into learning more. You’ll find it highly beneficial.

–TechCommGeekMom

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