Let's Tech Communicate

March 2017

Latest trends in technical communication from around the world.

In this month's column, we welcome tools for working with outdated browsers and for checking web layouts on different devices. We discuss technical communication as if it were a radioisotope and find out whether we can swear with words like "documentation". This and much more from around the ‘Net!

Outdated Browser

Web Masters rejoice. If you are spending too much time optimising for ancient and out-dated browsers, the team at Büro have built Outdated Browser for you. The script detects whether the browser being used supports a CSS property. If it doesn’t, it displays a friendly warning at the top of the page advising users to update their browser to a current version. It’s as easy as that. Want to give it a try? Just include the JS and CSS files in your project, paste in the required HTML and you’re good to go.

Auto Layout

Designers have been looking for ways to see how their designs look on all screen sizes. Auto Layout makes that possible. Not only does the plugin generate an overview of all screen sizes for all artboards at once, it also integrates seamlessly into Sketch and enables defining and viewing different iPhone/iPad sizes including portrait and landscape. All you need to do is download the plugin (for free!) and get started.

Content Strategy

Content Strategy is the new Black for technical communicators. So check out the presentations at the Content Strategy Applied 2017 conference.

Knowledge and the Competence Framework

Current knowledge for technical communicators by Dr. Daniela Straub is a rather interesting post. In it she posits that the half-life of knowledge is decreasing continuously. This is hardly surprising as in 2010 twice as much content was created than in all previous years combined. So what has this to do with the new tekom profiling tool for the Competence Framework? Read on.

Is Documentation a Dirty Word?

Ellis Pratt has written a short blog piece on the revision of the innocuous-sounding international standard ISO/IEC/IEEE 26512. Read his short but thought-provoking article here.

One for the History Buffs

Have you ever wondered how to gauge "How many technical writers should we have in our organisation?" Well in 2003 there was an average of six developers to one technical communicator. In 1998, research suggested the average was eight to one and in 1996 the ratio was ten developers to one technical communicator. So why aren’t we one-on-one by now? But seriously, this article has links to real studies on this important question. Given the changes in our industry since 2003, my favourite part in the article is where “per page” ratios are discussed.

Grant Mackenzie