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Tech Writers, Move Away from the Dark Ages

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It's reasonable that some industries and professions develop at different speeds. Some use technologies that put their company on the front foot in development and production. Other companies stick to traditional solutions and move slower towards modern implementations. 

If you are reading this as a technical author, it's most likely your company is developing a new product and is at the forefront of technology. So the question needs to be asked:

If development and marketing departments are using the latest tools to maximize their effectiveness, why are so many documentation teams using solutions that are over 15 years old??

Here are some issues you should consider for your new content management tool. And I'm pulling no punches here.

Use Technology Based on 2017, Not 1995!

Consider the product you are presently using for managing your content. With a little research in Wikipedia, you can discover that some of the most well known products for technical writing saw their first versions released as early as the 1980s.

Not exactly ultra modern. When a product is created, very seldomly does the core platform change — rather the new features are built on that same platform.

There is always a time where even the newest products become yesterday's legacy. Even when they try to catch up, it's like being forced to make toast because all you have is old bread. When a tool doesn't use the latest technology in the very essence of the solution, it cannot be hidden from the customer experience.

So, use a product that's built using modern technology with features you are familiar with such as online review and discussion of comments, browser based (not restricted to an operating system) and integration with other important systems in the organization.

Choose a Tool That Meets Your Requirements

This may seem quite obvious but it's frequently not the case. When purchasing a new car, you normally look for a car that matches your requirements and that’s within your price range. Or maybe you purchase the car based purely on your own personal history consciously deciding not to check-out the alternatives. Well, in technical writing it's often just the latter. Something like "Well I used product A in my previous company and it was quite good so let's use it here as well". Not exactly a professional strategy for investing in a new solution for improving customer experience from the content perspective.

Use Structured Authoring

Most writers would agree that some sort of structured authoring solution, based on Docbook or DITA, is the way to go. You can build your content in parts, reuse content, ensure consistency of structure and output to unlimited delivery types. However, the cost of thousands of dollars to implement, train and maintain were prohibitive. Normally the authors needed to have XML and hard technical knowledge just to start writing. It's a scary project to set this up. So traditionally, it's either been for the very brave or companies with a large enough budget to allow themselves the luxury of full-power content management.

If there was a solution that provides the full functionality with no implementation cost, I am sure many companies would jump at the chance. 

Paligo - The Solution is Here

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Paligo is what's called a CCMS (Component Content Management System). Most writers know what a HAT (Help Authoring Tool) is. Well a CCMS is that PLUS a whole lot more. Paligo is a solution that provides tools for technical writers that cover much more than you are used to. It has all the basic features you would expect as well as extra tools built right into Paligo for managing the full documentation project, not just the writing — since writing is really only part of the picture.

Paligo Expected Features   Extras for Full Project Management
  • Authoring using the Docbook official standard (but XML is behind the scenes)
 
  • Full project management including a visual planner of activities
  • Delivery to PDF, HTML and whatever else you need
 
  • Comment and chat on assignment reviews, Googledocs style 
  • Conditional text, variables
 
  • Taxomomies and search to manage the topics
  • Content reuse at topic and paragraph level
 
  • Integration with help centers such as Zendesk and translation memory tools such as Memsource
  • Full topic management. Both of topics and full versions 
 
  • Cloud-based so full collaboration from anywhere worldwide, not restricted any operating system

 

As you can see Paligo is a CCMS that's been built to help you manage everything in your documentation project. You will not find anything on the market that matches the features for a complete structured authoring solution, especially without huge implementation costs. You shouldn't believe everything you read (especially me!!)  so check it out for yourself!

For more information on Paligo, open a chat with us now or leave a message. You can find more information here: www.paligo.net. Join our next Paligo webinar HERE.

We also have more content on Paligo which you can read here: Paligo - The Powerful Cloud-Based Solution for Technical Authors

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