Browsing articles in "Concepts and Definitions"

How can Technical Writers Support Voice Automation?

Dec 6, 2018   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions  //  No Comments

What is voice automation? Voice automation enables digital devices to interact with users via sound. Chances are, if you own a smartphone, you’ve already conversed with Siri, or one of her sisters.

Voice automation is everywhere these days. It’s proven to be successful for GPS navigation programs and even home automation systems. Thanks to voice automation, we now have intelligent assistant technologies such as Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Bixby.  The potential of voice automation doesn’t stop there. Medicine, engineering, and finance are just some of the industries that can integrate voice automation into their processes, products, and services.

Some might think that voice automation will eventually take over the functions of a technical writer. However, Saiff Solutions’ webinar with Precision Content on neuroscience, chatbots, voice, and microcontent suggests otherwise. In our previous microcontent blog, we discussed how we can narrow down content into its most simplified form through microcontent.

Microcontent

Microcontent is a unit of structured information that can be easily processed by both the human brain and machines. This is exactly what we need to feed voice automation with more precise information. Technical communicators are best equipped with the skills needed to produce voice automation-ready microcontent.

Now, how exactly can technical writers support voice automation? Here are three good ways:

  • Technical writers can identify user intent.

Technical writers are known to be experts in audience analysis, and audience analysis is the best method to identify user intent. User intent is one of the most crucial parts of microcontent. The intent declares the function of the information.

  • Technical writers can apply user intent to content.

Once technical writers get a full grasp of their audience’s intent, they can determine the writing structure needed for microcontent. According to Saiff Solutions’ and Precision Content’s webinar “The Future is Now: Neuroscience, Chatbots, Voice, and Microcontent,” microcontent sentences change tense and perspective depending on reader intent. This shapes the authoring of your content, thus enabling voice automation to be more eloquent and conversational.

  • Technical writers can adapt to any business that  requires the development of voice automation.

Technical writers can adapt to any technical field, and the same goes for microcontent. Won’t it be interesting to experience voice automation everywhere? The adaptability of technical writers opens endless possibilities for voice automation.

Imagine the possibilities of this growing content delivery system! With voice automation, you can:

  • Expand the capabilities of AI
  • Contribute to the development of eLearning
  • Enhance your marketing and technical content

So, if you want to learn more about how voice automation can make your content shine, see our previous webinar with Precision Content here and view the slide deck here.

Watch out for our microcontent blog series on the Saiff Solutions blog page here.

Be an Effective Tech Comm Professional with this 2017 Technical Communications Calendar

Jan 3, 2017   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, Evaluating Technical Writers, Reference Articles  //  No Comments

Featuring the 14 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Writers &  Technical Communications Leaders

You’ve read the blog post and seen the STC-sponsored webinar. Now you can have the 14 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Writers and Technical Communications Leaders guide you through 2017 with this desk-stand calendar.

2017 Technical Communications Calendar - Desk Stand

Download the PDF and get your favorite print shop to print it on 6.5″ x 4.5″ card paper and bind it. Then display it on your desk and be reminded to Ask, Rewrite, Get Feedback, and Be a Customer Advocate to maximize your effectiveness as a tech comm professional.

If you’d rather be inspired whenever you look at your office wall, then print this wall-hanging version on 8″ x 11″ paper.

2017 Technical Communications Calendar - Wall Hanging

And if you’d like to know further how we can help your customer experience and process improvement advocacy by scaling up your technical documentation, send us a message at barrysaiff@saiffsolutions.com.

Events: Virtual Summit on Advanced Practices in Technical Communication 2016

virtual-summit-on-advanced-practices-in-technical-communication

December 6-8, 2016

The Content Wrangler is sponsoring The Virtual Summit on Advanced Practices in Technical Communication, a free, three-day event designed especially for technical communication professionals. The event features 12 free one-hour sessions from some of the industry’s best and brightest talents — experts in agile outsourcing, XML authoring, content strategy, content management, translation and localization, intelligent content, plain language, customer experience, and more. Learn more.

tech-writing-outsourcing-in-agile

As part of The Virtual Summit, Saiff Solutions, yours truly, is sharing its knowledge on Managing Technical Writing Outsourcing in an Agile Environment on December 8, 2016 at 6pm EST. Register below, it’s free!

register-here-button

Infographics: 7 Elements of Respect

Apr 18, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, How-To, Managing Technical Writers, Outsourcing, Reference Articles  //  No Comments

We’ve condensed the 21 Dimensions of Respect into a more digestible 7 elements.

Check out these 4 infographics illustrating the 7 elements!

Click on each image to expand for downloading.

BALANCE Infographic 1 of 4

BALANCE Infographic 2 of 4

BALANCE Infographic 3 of 4
BALANCE Infographic 4 of 4

 

 

A Motivating SLAP!

Apr 1, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, How-To, Managing Technical Writers, Outsourcing, Reference Articles  //  No Comments

Here is an acronym that summarizes the key success factors for motivating professionals:

SLAP!


Success

SUCCESS: People need successes to feel good about themselves and their work. Make sure there are small things that even the worst performer has a chance to succeed at. And then “catch them doing something good” and praise them. Your primary responsibility is to support your staff to succeed.

Learn

LEARNING: If a person is not interested in and motivated by learning, and by opportunities to learn, then they were probably not a good hire. Give your staff chances to grow. If you are creative, you will see learning opportunities everywhere, in everything.

Accurate Feedback

ACCURATE FEEDBACK: You owe this to each person on your staff. Separate emotion from fact. Separate actions and behaviors from person/identity. When someone makes a mistake, tell them. When they do something well, tell them. Do not let anything go. Be fair, precise, frequent, and helpful in providing feedback.

 Praise

PRAISE: Everyone needs praise. A study found that people need 5 times as much positive feedback as criticism to achieve their best performance. Think about that. If you are not in the habit of praising people frequently, change. (Remember, only praise accurately!)

What do you think? Have you discovered other key success factors for motivation? I’d love to know your thoughts! Please post your comments.

Posters – 7 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Writers

Feb 18, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, Evaluating Technical Writers, How-To, Outsourcing, Reference Articles  //  2 Comments

Click on the thumbnails below to open them in a new window where you can save them.

1 Page Poster

Poster - 7 Habits 1pager

2 Page Poster

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See our 7 habits of highly effective technical writers aritcle here.

The 21 Dimensions of Respect

Feb 18, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, How-To, Reference Articles  //  1 Comment

Sometimes taken for granted, RESPECT is one of a manager’s key success factors for leading productive, diverse, multi-cultural teams. The ability to deeply, broadly, and authentically respect others may not come naturally to everyone. Even if you are a “natural,” you may find these tips helpful.

RespectForForeigners

We can respect people by:

  1. Understanding them
  2. Seeking to understand before accusing
  3. Considering their feelings
  4. Listening to them
  5. Believing in them
  6. Expecting more of them than they expect of themselves
  7. Not buying into their perceived limitations
  8. Believing that they can achieve great things
  9. Being careful not to assume things about them
  10. Judging them as individuals, fairly, not as members of a group (gender, culture, etc.)
  11. Being creative about how to reduce the impact of your own biases on your decisions
  12. Hearing their unspoken concerns
  13. Knowing the signs of upset, disappointment, and anger for each person
  14. Appreciating and acknowledging them regularly, always authentically, and calibrated to give them an accurate idea about how they are doing
  15. Praise everyone: “catch them doing something well”
  16. Being responsible for your impact on them
  17. Modeling the behaviors you want to see
  18. Being as willing as you ask them to be
  19. Being careful not to blame them for your mistakes
  20. Being more responsible than they need to be
  21. When things go wrong, looking first at your own actions and way of being

Adopting a broad, global view of respect will improve morale, increase productivity, and strengthen your international business relations.

Agree, disagree? Comment below.

Join us for a special free webinar on the CARVE/SLAP/THRIVE approach to managing technical writers on April 14!  Register at the link below:

How to Motivate and Empower Globally Competitive Teams of Content Professionals

About the Author

Barry Saiff has led several small to large multicultural teams consisting of Technical Writers, Graphic Designers, Marketers, and other professionals at 7 different companies in the U.S. and Philippines. The integration of cultures has created a global knowledge base for world-class quality.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Technical Writers

Jan 24, 2016   //   by Barry Saiff   //   Blog, Concepts and Definitions, How-To, Reference Articles  //  19 Comments

A Technical Writer’s maximum potential can be uncovered through developing these 7 habits, regardless of which country they are operating in:

1. Do not take it personally (learn)

Don't take it personally

Great technical writers thrive on criticism. They understand  that it enables them to improve, and to improve the accuracy and readability of their content. So, don’t take criticism personally. Use it to your advantage.

2. Learn before asking (respect, impress)

Learn before asking

Learn as much as you can from available resources before asking questions. In this way, you can respect others’ time and impress your colleagues with your ability to ask intelligent questions.

3. Ask (often)

Ask

Technical writing requires good people skills. Don’t attempt it alone. Ask questions. Ask for help.

4. REWRITE (always)

REWRITE

Pick 3 of your favorite writers. If you were able to see their first drafts, you’d probably think, “I can do much better.” The best writers in the world are the best re-writers. Always rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite some more.

5. Acquire Feedback (test, reviews)

Acquire Feedback

Technical writing is almost never 100% on the first draft. Without adequate testing and review, accuracy is often unattainable. Make sure you get the feedback you need to excel.

6. Understand (before publishing)

Understand

When you start, you may not fully understand your subject matter. That’s fine. By the time you publish, make sure you do understand. If you don’t understand what you write, your readers are not likely to understand it, either.

7. Contribute

Contribute

Notice things. Does the prototype work as expected? Are the user interface labels capitalized consistently? Ask questions. Make suggestions. Be a part of the product team.

Agree or disagree? We’d love to hear your comments below.

2016 New Year’s Gifts

Happy New Year from Saiff Solutions!

Please accept these presents which we think you’ll find useful for planning a successful year:

2016 calendar with information typing tips

2016 Calendar

Front | Back

2016 planning questions for your team, department, organization

 

GoalAt Saiff Solutions, Inc., we use these questions every year to support our growth and development.
Feel free to use them to support your own growth and development, as individuals and as an
organization.

  1. What did you accomplish in 2015 that you want to be acknowledged for?

 

1a. How well did you perform on your intentions and promises for 2015?

 

  1. What did you learn in 2015? (LESSONS LEARNED)

 

  1. What did you fail to accomplish in 2015?

 

  1. What is still incomplete for you? Consider your answers above, as well as people, events, or situations that you may be incomplete with.

 

  1. Are you willing to let it go? If not what do you need to do in order to get complete? By when will you do that?

 

  1. What is your vision for 12/31/16? Name at least 3 things.

 

  1. What do you intend to learn in 2016?

 

  1. What are you grateful for?

 

  1. What is your greatest challenge?

 

  1. What support do you need?

 

Optional bonus questions:

A. Fill in the blanks: I am willing to give up _______________ in order to have _________

B. What are you willing to promise for 2016?

C. What requests do you need to make to get started on fulfilling your promises and your vision?

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Saiff Solutions In The Media

- TechWhirl
- Nominated for 2015 Rice Bowl Asean Start Up

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Testimonials

“Barry [Saiff] truly is a force of nature – he is a consummate professional with deep technical expertise when it comes to technical writing which lets him just “get it” right out of the box. Barry pairs very strong writing skills with the ability to easily speak both “business analyst” and “software engineer” in the same meeting. Barry was the lead information developer for my product at Symantec, and I had the utmost confidence in his abilities and work ethic. On top of all that, Barry has a wonderful sense of humor and an infectious laugh that can transform the work environment in an instance. I strongly endorse Barry’s many talents and would welcome working with him again in the future.”

Angelos Kottas
Principal Product Manager, Symantec
December 17, 2010

Read more testimonials here.