Portfolio – Documentation

New Mexico Tech Web Site Documentation

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This manual accompanied the launch of New Mexico Tech’s new Web site in April of 2009. Although the manual was written as an assignment for a class called Professional Writing Workshop (known informally as instructional writing), it was released alongside the Web site as training material.

The manual was written for new or intermediate computer users who needed help using the Joomla! content management system (CMS) chosen by the school’s Web Development Team. This audience included administrative staff, staff in the Public Information Office, and the like—basically anyone who would be updating the content of the school’s Web site.

The format and style guide were developed collaboratively by the class—as was the original iteration of the manual. However, about a week before the launch of the site, I discovered that the CMS’s interface had changed dramatically since the original version was written, making most of the collaborative work obsolete. As my final project for the class, I took on the rewrite of the manual, and the majority of its current content is my writing. (The Glossary and Index were generated by a classmate.)

This manual illustrates my ability to handle a number of important concepts in documentation and instructional writing: writing clear and accurate steps, utilizing screen captures and other figures effectively, arranging sections and designing the document to be logical and understandable, and using callouts (notes, in this case) to emphasize important information. Writing this manual also required many basic technical communication skills such as developing and adhering to a style guide, gathering information from subject matter experts, learning to use and then writing about unfamiliar technology, and testing the documentation for usability.

Thunderbird E-mail Tutorial

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This brief e-mail tutorial for Mozilla Thunderbird 8.0 was generated as a writing sample to accompany a job application. Although I would have preferred to illustrate the steps with images, the application requirements dictated text-only instructions.

3 thoughts on “Portfolio – Documentation

  1. Is your manual applicable to what New Mexico Tech’s website is currently using? We’re interested in updating the Technical Communication and Society for Technical Communication pages and I don’t think any of the current students know how it works.

      • Hi! I don’t know the Horsey Dance. 😛 A couple of students actually suggested redirecting to a WordPress site for ease of use but no one has gotten on that yet.

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