Useful websites for technical writers
Here you can find a compilation of the best websites for technical writers and anyone who creates technical documentation and software documentation. Plus links to forums, LinkedIn groups, professional associations, and relevant conferences.
Technical documentation, user assistance, information design
General portals, articles, and courses
Online magazine for international information development.
Selected contributions from the technical journal „technische kommunikation“ are also accessible to non-subscribers (in German).
TechWhirl Tech Writer Today Online Magazine
Online articles and resources for technical writers and technical communicators.
Online community that collects and shares resources in the fields of technical communication, professional communication, and business communication.
Documenting APIs: A guide for technical writers and engineers
Very comprehensive free course on writing API documentation.
Technical Writing Courses
Two free short online courses on technical writing in general, supplied by Google. The courses cover “the critical basics of technical writing” and “intermediate topics in technical writing”.
Provides a collection of excellent presentation slides with a focus on software user assistance.
Dozuki Tech Writing Handbook
Brief online handbook on the essentials of technical writing. Nicely designed but very not very comprehensive.
Online Technical Writing
Basic online textbook on technical writing.
Web Writing That Works
If you browse a little you can find some good tips here.
Provides a basic online course in technical writing.
Indexing user manuals
The British/Irish Society of Indexers provides a number of articles on indexing user manuals (go to “Advice for authors > Advice to technical authors”). There’s also a corresponding usability study available (go to “About indexing > Usability of indexes”).
Various guides to the world of typography, supplied by Google.
User Experience and information design
Windows User Experience Interaction Guidelines
Comprehensive guidelines published by Microsoft.
The Usability Methods Toolbox
Brief explanations of the most common methods used in usability testing.
Usability basics, methods, templates, guidelines and other resources, provided by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services.
UI Style Guides
Collection of links to a number of user interface style guides.
ACM SIGCHI is the special interest group on Computer-Human Interaction of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). They provide a very comprehensive link collection as well as a bibliography database with more than 50000 listed publications.
News and links to hundreds of articles and resources on information design.
A List Apart
Hundreds of comprehensive articles, mainly on web design and web technology.
Online magazine for international information management.
Boxes and Arrows
Lots of interesting articles on design, including graphic design, interaction design and information architecture.
Following its motto “Insights and inspiration for the user experience community,” UXmatters provides a wealth of excellent articles on user experience and user assistance.
Articles of the Nielsen Norman Group
Frequently publishes articles on web usability. For good reasons this probably is the most frequently linked and cited website in its field.
Many great essays on product design. The section labeled “In Praise of Good Design” illustrates products that have some special positive characteristic worthy of comment.
Collection of comprehensive articles on usability and user experience.
Standards and legal issues
International Organization for Standardization (ISO)
Here you can purchase copies of international standards.
Free information and downloads on European law, including the Machinery Directive. Provided by the European Union.
News and articles on the topics of CE marking and risk assessment in English and German.
Online help development
Docs Like Code
Collection of info on the docs-as-code approach of documentation development.
Popular forums and comprehensive wiki on ebooks.
Website dedicated to the Microsoft Help format.
Structured authoring according to DITA and other standards
The official community and resource for the DITA OASIS standard.
Fluid Topics DITA publications
DITA specification in webhelp format.
Free online learning courses on the basics of DITA.
Resources for learning DITA on the Oxygen XML blog
Various links and tips and DITA that can be helpful also if you don’t use Oxygen XML as your editor.
Collection of DITA-related information and links.
Various DITA-related articles and links.
Originally intended for writing technical documents related to computer hardware and software, but can also be used for other sorts of documentation.
International Standard for intelligent information Request and Delivery. Standard for enabling dynamic information request and delivery.
Specification for technical documentation related to defense systems, civil aviation products, construction industry products, and ship industry products.
Some less well-known or emerging standards and initiatives are:
http://projectmallard.org and https://wiki.gnome.org/Apps/Yelp/Tools
Outstanding blogs and podcasts
I’d Rather Be Writing
“A blog about the latest trends in technical communication” by Tom Johnson.
Cherryleaf Technical Authors Blog
Blog on a wide spectrum of topics related to user assistance.
Blog and Podcast on technical communication in general but with a focus on technology-related topics.
Every Page is Page One
“Readers can enter anywhere. Is your content ready to receive them?” by Mark Baker.
“Official newsletter and blog of CyberText Consulting: Technical communication specialists.”
Blog run by tekom with posts from various authors, both in English and in German.
“A technical writer’s blog” by Sarah Maddox.
Blog by Fabrizio Ferri Benedetti.
“Examining documentation and help systems since 2002” by Gordon Meyer.
The Content Wrangler
“Content is a business asset worthy of being managed” by Scott Abel.
Technical Communication Center
„Tipps, Trends und Anleitungen zum technischen Schreiben und zur Kommunikation“, von Ugur Akinci.
“Technical Writing & Communication Tips, Trends & Tutorials” by Ugur Akinci.
I Came, I Saw, I Learned …
“The place to share resources, ideas, and general information about Adobe’s Technical Communication Suite applications: RoboHelp, FrameMaker, Captivate, Acrobat, and PhotoShop.” Blog by IconLogic, Inc.
TechComm Central by Adobe
Blog by Adobe staff and some guest bloggers.
Docu + Design Daube
Various FrameMaker resources.
Various tips on Captivate, CSS, Flare, HTML, dynamic help, and web-based help.
Writers of Silicon Valley
Podcast on UX writing and content strategy.
Write the Docs Podcast
Podcast on a variety of technical communication topics.
Instrktiv's Insane Instructions Show
Podcast on “topics related to creating user-friendly and compliant information for use”.
Style guides, writing aids
Mere style guides
Microsoft Writing Style Guide
The most frequently used style guide for software documentation. Replaces the Microsoft Manual of Style and is now free of charge.
Apple Publications Style Guide
Complete, downloadable style guide in PDF format (approx. 200 pages). To find the guide on the website, enter “publications style guide” into the search box.
Google Developer Documentation Style Guide
Comprehensive style guide that also includes a detailed word list.
Simplified Technical English
Here you can request a free copy of the ASD-STE100 Specifcation. This document contains many good writing tips and rules that can be applied to any project.
Jorsek Content Development Style Guide
Style guide from the manufacturer of a component content management system.
Salesforce Style Guide
Comprehensive style guide for documentation and user interface text. Can also be downloaded as a PDF (approx. 110 pages).
GNOME Documentation Style Guide
Writing style guide specifically for writing software documentation.
SUSE and openSUSE Style Guides
Style guides for documentation and texts within the user interface.
Drupal Handbook Style Guide
Brief guide with some basic tips.
Wikipedia Manual of Style
Brief style guide for writing wiki entries.
IEEE Computer Society Style Guide
Comprehensive style guide, published by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ Computer Society.
National Geographic Style Manual
Detailed guide to the preferred National Geographic Society style.
Web Style Guide
Comprehensive style guide and textbook on online information design in general.
Style Guide by Duncan Kent
Brief writing styleguide and dictionary of plain English (PDF, 19 pages).
The Elements of Style
Well-known, brief, classic reference.
Writing enhancement and proofreading
OWL Online Writing Lab
Collection of handouts and exercises on general writing concerns, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and professional writing.
Plain English Campaign
Collection of free guides in PDF format.
Plain Language Action and Information Network
Collection of resources that are aimed to help you write more clearly and more concisely.
Brief reference of proofreader’s marks.
Microsoft Language Portal
Windows terminology for many languages.
Provided by the European Union. Gives translations between almost all European languages.
Multilingual terminology portal that provides access to scientific and technical terms derived from patent documents.
Large electrotechnical vocabulary in most European Languages plus Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Russian. Provided by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).
Offers machine translations as well as translation suggestions from a huge, freely accessible universal translation memory. The translation suggestions from the translation memory can provide important clues, especially when in doubt.
Google Books Ngram Viewer
Shows how often a particular word or phrase is used within the books indexed by Google Books. This information is helpful when deciding which term to use in a document (typically, used the more common one).
Google, Bing, Yahoo
When in doubt about how to write or use a word, a simple approach can also be to compare the frequency of use of the alternatives. Enter the alternatives within quotes into the search field of a general search engine and compare the number of results. The version that has the most results is probably the most common one and should therefore be preferred.
Forums, online communities
On LinkedIn, there are numerous groups related to technical documentation and technical communication. The groups with the most members and the most activity include:
Documentation and Technical Writing Management
Technical Writing & Content Management
UX Writers & Content Designers
Society for Technical Communication
Other LinkedIn groups with less activity include:
The Content Wrangler Community | Gruppen | LinkedIn
Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators
Technical Writers, Authors, and Documentation Professionals - Global Jobs and Apprenticeships
Betriebsanleitungen im Maschinenbau
Social Documentation - Docs 2.0
On Reddit, there are the following communities in the field of technical documentation and technical communication.
Write the Docs
Global technical documentation community: Slack network, conferences, local meetups.
TECHWR-L Email Discussion Group
Long-established online community in the field of technical communication.
Large directory and community for translators and for finding translators and translation agencies.
Techshoret- the Israeli Technical Writer's Forum
Forum for technical writers, marketing writers, translators, web designers, graphic artists, and associated professions in Israel.
Group on online documentation tools, techniques, and concepts.
DITA users group
Group dedicated to supporting users of DITA (Darwin Information Typing Architecture).
Organizations with a distinct focus on technical communication (in alphabetical order)
Australian Society for Technical Communication.
Association of Teachers of Technical Writing.
Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators (UK).
Japanese Technical Communicators Association.
Society for Technical Communication.
Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand.
Tech Writers Without Borders
Global community of technical communicators helping non-profit organizations to improve the quality and effectiveness of their instructional materials.
German professional association for technical communication and information development and European Association for Technical Communication.
Organizations in other countries (websites in local languages):
Related organizations (in alphabetical order)
American Copy Editors Society.
Association for Computational Linguistics.
Association for Computing Machinery, special interest group on computer human interaction.
Association for Computing Machinery, special interest group on design of communication.
Professional association for design.
Association of independent information professionals.
American Medical Writers Association.
Australian and New Zealand Society of Indexers.
American Society for Information Science and Technology.
American Society of Journalists and Authors.
Association of Support Professionals.
Association for Talent Development.
American Translators Association.
Chartered Institute of Linguists
Has four divisions representing members from the professional backgrounds of translating, education, interpreting, and business.
Editorial Freelancers Association.
Community for Learning Professionals.
European Language Industry Association.
European Union of Associations of Translation Companies.
Globalization and Localization Association.
Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
International Association of Business Communicators.
Information Design Association in the UK.
Professional Communication Society.
International Institute for Information Design.
Indexing Society of Canada / Société canadienne d’indexation.
Interaction, the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) Group
British HCI group, a specialist group of the British Computer Society.
Japanese Association of Translators.
International Society for Performance Improvement.
Institute of Translation and Interpreting.
Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association.
Interaction Design Association.
Organization for the Advancement of Structured Information Standards.
Professional Association for Computer Training.
Plain Language Association International.
Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.
Society of Indexers
British and Irish professional body for indexing.
User Experience Professionals Association.
Association of users and suppliers of products and services that create, modify and deliver customized information.
If you are looking for a colleges, universities, or schools that provide programs in technical communication, the following databases can help:
STC Academic Database
This database of the Society for Technical Communication lists academic institutions mainly in the U.S. and Canada, but also some in Australia and New Zealand.
Information provided by tekom
tekom provides a number of comprehensive surveys of academic institutions in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland.
Conferences, trade fairs
Most important conferences on technical communication
STC Technical Communication Summit
Organized by the Society for Technical Communication (STC).
tcworld and tekom conferences
Organized by the German tekom. The conferences are combined with the tekom trade fair. The language of the tcworld conference is English, the language of the tekom annual conference is German. There are also some additional tcworld and tekom conferences in other countries, such as in India, China, and northern and southern Europe.
Technical Communication UK (TCUK)
Organized by the ISTC.
Commercially organized technical communication and content strategy conference.
UA Europe Annual Conference
Conference for software user assistance professionals. Commercially organized.
Other conferences with a distinct focus on technical communication (in alphabetical order)
Annual conference of the Australian Society for Technical Communication.
Evolution of Technical Communication (ETC)
Annual gathering event for technical communicators in Bulgaria.
Aimed at bridging the gap between technical documentation, marketing, and content departments.
Technical Documentation RoundUp
Conference on modern technical communication. Commercially organized.
Annual conference for technical communicators, held in Jerusalem.
Conferences on technical documentation, training, e-learning, and localization. Commercially organized.
Unconference focused on Technical Communications issues and the various applications used by technical communicators.
Conference of the Technical Communicators Association of New Zealand.
Oranized by tekom. Intends to take a look at how new developments can be re-imagined in the context of user assistance.
UX Writer Conference
Virtual conference centered on UX writing.
Write the Docs
Focused on documentation systems, tech writing theory, and information delivery. Commercially organized.
Some conferences on related subjects (in alphabetical order)
AIIP Annual Conference
Conference of the Association of Independent Information Professionals.
ACES Annual International Conference
Conference of the American Copy Editors Society.
Commercially organized conference on content strategy.
Several commercially organized conferences with an emphasis on DITA and information development.
Commercially organized conference about making software easier and more enjoyable to use.
Content Marketing World
Commercially organized conference on the marketing of content.
European information architecture summit, organized by the European Chapter of ASIST.
IEEE International Professional Communication Conference (ProComm)
Discussions about communication and learning.
Information Design Conference
Organized by the the Information Design Association (IDA) in the UK.
Information Development World
Commercially organized conference for technical, marketing, and product information developers.
Commercially organized conference on the effective use of technology and processes to create, manage, deliver and scale enterprise content.
Commercially organized conference on digital media and content strategies.
Conferences and exhibitions for localization and translation professionals.
Learning Guild Conferences
Conferences and exhibitions on (mobile) learning.
Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading annual conference
Conferences of the Chartered Institute of Editing and Proofreading.
The AMWA Annual Conference
Conference of the American Medical Writers Association.
Conference of the Usability Professionals Association.
World Usability Congress
Commercially organized by an Austrian company.
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This page was last updated 06/2023
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