If customers are talking about us or competitors, it’s likely through social media: Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc. How organizations take care of this is called social CRM. At minimum, social CRM targets immediate damage control for user experiences gone horribly wrong; at best, it's turning passive fans into engaged activists, who influence their networks.
Mary Connor's blog
Here is a great visualization of how rapidly our technology is changing. These steep velocities speak volumes about how disruptive the rise of mobile devices has been, and is:
If you would like to bring in a spreadsheet as an editable table in iMIS Community, you can do so in a few steps:
- In Excel, select and copy the range of rows and columns you want to bring over.
- In iMIS Community, click the Paste from Word (clipboard + W) button on the editor toolstrip.
- In the dialog that pops up, paste in your rows and columns and click OK.
That is the process for importing it. However, to make the table display correctly and be editable via the WYSIWYG options (such as to insert/delete rows), a bit more clean-up will get you there:
This week I attended a webinar on "Managing Technical Debt with Agile" by Michael Hall, of Three Beacons. “Technical Debt” often comes from choosing a design approach for expedience that, over time, increases complexity and costs. The financial metaphor is that of credit: to get something now, pay for it later, but with interest — which can worsen to the point that all money (effort) is going into servicing that debt, which can never be paid off. Mike offered three areas of suggestions: how to prevent new debt from occurring, how to deal with new debt that happens, and how to bring down legacy debt:
Agile Austin has put together a nice collection of resources for learning agile development practices: http://www.agileaustin.org/agile-resources/
It recommends books, websites, listservs, blogs, videos, and podcasts, to support many learning styles. It also links to tools that members have recommended for use with agile.
Testing and correcting accessibility problems throughout the development process is all about tools. Here are tips I've collected:
- Support the fewest back versions of JAWS you can: just as with browsers, supporting earlier versions makes development infinitely harder. Current version is 11.
- Fangs is a free screen-reader emulator, a Firefox plugin: http://www.standards-schmandards.com/projects/fangs/
- Use Juicy Studio accessibility plugins and toolbar: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/user/320.
- WebAIM now has an accessibility toolbar: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/6720.
- There's also a free Web Accessibility Toolbar for IE: http://www.paciellogroup.com/resources/wat-ie-about.html
Finding more tools:
With its focus on innovation, this conference is a handy barometer for business and technology trends. This year, there is new attention being paid to start-ups ("Austin Startup Row"), and the Beta Summit will present live demos of six of the hottest technologies being developed in Austin. The Software track this year is emphasizing social networking and cost-savings, and there are sessions on Windows 7 and Google Wave.
10 Useful Usability Findings and Guidelines summarizes research findings that have a practical impact on how we design interfaces. The article includes visual examples for these findings:
- Form labels work best above the field
- Users focus on faces
- Quality of design indicates credibility
- Most users do not scroll (but more and more do)
- Blue is the best color for links
- The ideal search box is 27 characters wide
- White space improves comprehension
- Effective user testing can be very cheap
- Informative product pages win
- Most users are blind to advertising
In addition, the article includes case study findings about typography (line height, space, length), blogs, forms, and portfolios. Worth a read!
Last night Alan Porter explained to STC Austin "Why Tech Writers Shouldn't Be Writers". Much of it focused on the use of comics for technical communication, but not comics in the sense of "humorous drawings" -- rather, comics as sequential images that tell a story. Most tech writers are painfully aware that their users would rather have a few annotated screenshots than written descriptions and procedures, but that's not a problem so much as a brain-based reality, he argues. Alan pointed out:
A long-time wish for many of us building and using online documentation is how to grab only the portions we want and have it lay out well for print production, handouts, quick references. A new tool, Zinepal ("magazine pal"), attempts just that: it lets you create your own PDFs -- and even schedule daily rebuilds -- from online content. In an email, Zinepal staff claimed that 1-column layouts would be a quick enhancement, that the easiest way to leverage this tool for documentation is to set up RSS feeds exactly the way you want content to be grouped, and that more integration options are in the works. But as it stands today, it's a compelling example of how to give documentation producers and end users the power to build exactly what they need from online content.