A meme that says: "Not sure if done editing or just done caring"

Response to Homework #3: Maybe content strategy and information architecture are the next tech comm

Business Keeping

Grades on Canvas as usual. Check for them there.

Editing Is More Than a Checklist; It’s a Process

Though a lot of editing does amount to checking writing drafts against style guides, citation systems, Standard Edited American English, and other conventions, editing is really a process. The more you put into place processes and guidelines at the beginning of a writing process, the less work you have to do in the long run. It’s a lot more efficient to get people to follow guidelines than it is to correct mistakes, though admittedly editing always entails both (because people are generally bad at following complex guidelines).

Some important elements to check off when editing technical content include; verifying the style/structure of the final product; verifying that headers/footers are correct; preventing hyphenation of words across two pages; preventing a word less than four letters of being on a line by itself, etc. It is important to establish style guidelines early in an editorial process because it establishes the structure for the project and saves the technical writer’s time by cutting out the guesswork and having to reformat it later if it were not immediately specified. – Gabriella

Single-Sourcing Is Becoming the New Norm

Single-sourcing has changed the way editors operate as the focus now is on creating structured content that can be repurposed. Many editors now function as content managers who assure that content is written appropriately in a structured form and then gets published correctly in a particular channel (i.e. mobile, web, PDF, print, email, etc.). This has greatly complexified the role of technical editors, in particular.

Single sourcing is the process of creating multiple deliverables from one set of files, which goes hand in hand with structured authoring, which is an environment in technical writing that defines processes, design, and style. – Cassidy

Content Strategy Is Growing in Importance

Along with the growth of single-sourcing, comes the growth of content strategy, which is really about creating organization-wide style guides that ensure that all content is managed appropriately. Some content strategists focus primarily on a particular subset of an organization’s content (such as managing structured content), whereas others focus organization-wide to ensure all content (i.e., marketing, technical writing, internal communication, customer service, etc.) serves the organization’s goals.

Editorial strategy defines the guidelines by which all online content is governed: values, voice, tone, legal and regulatory concerns, user-generated content, and so on. This practice also defines an organization’s online editorial calendar, including content life cycles. – Catherine

Some Senior Technical Writers Are Transitioning to Information Architecture

I’m also seeing some senior technical writers make the leap into managing the overall structure of information within a technology, rather than creating or managing content. These folks often start out as content creators and then increasingly move up through the hierarchy of their organizations until they are managing the entire information flow. There is a high learning curve that goes along with this transition, however, because developing something like a site map is very different than just writing content that will be published to an individual webpage. At the same time, however, both jobs (technical writer and information architect) largely draw upon the same broad skill sets: effective communication, good organization, and the ability to translate and synthesize complex information.

Information architecture is the creation of a structure for a website, application, or other project, that enablesus to understand where we are as users, and where the information we want is in relation to our position. Kind of like the menu bar at the top of a website. They create site maps, hierarchies, categorizations, navigation, and metadata. – Brianna

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