TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Tim Alton asked "Just what subjects do you think will be the hottest and
most interesting in the coming year?"
Here's my list:
1) Converting Windows help into HTML help; writing HTML-based help; many
issues of what tools to use, how to plan, manage, write, edit etc such
2) How and why to get TWs involved earlier in the s/w development process:
specific strategies on presenting this idea to management (as a cost-saving
measure or whatever). The more stuff that goes online (help, manuals,
tutorials, electronic performance support, etc) the more closely it needs
to be integrated with the product, not tagged on after the product design
is finished. (Some colleagues and I have a session on this at the upcoming
STC Conf in Toronto.)
3) How, when and why to get TWs involved in projects destined for the web,
whether intranet and internet. Arguments as for (2). Help the techies see
the users' POV. Probably lots of other issues related to web and internet
4) Designing, writing and editing online materials, whether help, CD-ROM,
web-based, or whatever. A tutorial sort of session, especially good for
people making the move from writing paper-based documentation to writing
online materials. What's the same, what's different? What particular issues
need consideration? How best to handle hypertext links, so they are useful.
Indexing. Etc etc.
5) Tools and techniques for planning, mapping and keeping track of
hypertext links and paths within a project. (This is a subset of 4.)
6) Telecommuting and teleworking issues. See, for example, my article in
the Aug/Sept 1996 issue of STC's Intercom. Not so much "how to set up your
office" etc, but how to deal with management and relationships, both within
the team and between the writers and the s/w developers etc. The Sydney
ASTC (Australian STC) group held a meeting on this subject last year and it
was very lively.
7) Strategic planning, for departments, projects, individuals. Why, how,
etc. JoAnne Hackos does great sessions on this at the annual STC
8) SGML issues, but I've not had enough experience to suggest details.
I'm sure I could think of a lot more, but I've run out of steam. Hope this
jean_weber -at- compuserve -dot- com