I hear you, and yes, I can! I have used Atlassian Confluence to convert a manual from Adobe InDesign into wiki pages in Confluence. Few tools feature InDesign import facilities, so it was a case of back to basics – manual copy and paste from the original into Confluence. This was a useful experience as it meant I could experiment with different layouts and create a home page and styles for the site as well as create the actual content pages.
As part of the work, I needed to:
- Create a home page and design its layout
- Re-order the Table of Contents (TOC)
- Create content pages featuring text, tables, images, auto-lists of contents, auto-lists of ‘child’ pages, auto lists of pages with the same tags, and re-usable content (i.e. content created in a file that is then embedded)
- Create tag clouds for navigation
- Create labels for searches
- Adjust the style sheet for the site to support roman numeral numbering for nested number lists.
Writing Technical Communication for a Wiki
There are some people that make a big deal about the differences with writing content for a wiki when compared to writing content for a technical manual. I’m not one of them. Yes, wiki’s can be more collaborative, but the fundamental approach to the content is exactly the same as with any topic-based content – the page has to be stand-alone and not dependent on the end user having read other pages first. For those that say it is completely different to writing a manual, I would argue that they are not writing their manuals correctly. People rarely read technical documentation in any set order; they dip in and out of sections as and when needed. So it is important that the content is written in a way that supports this, whether it is provided as a traditional paper manual, an online help page, or a wiki page in Confluence (other wiki tools are available).
Hire me to write your Confluence wiki content and your pages will be:
- Clear, helpful, and designed to provide answers to your customers’ questions.
- Tagged appropriately, so that they are easy to find in your wiki system.
- Stand-alone with links to other appropriate sections as and where needed.
- Designed with re-use in mind. By creating content that can be embedded in your wiki pages, it is possible to reduce the amount of time and effort needed to create and update your pages.
- Easy on the eye. One of the best things about Confluence is that it is quite easy to create engaging layouts.
Atlassian Confluence Training
Confluence is quite an easy tool to learn, especially if you have used web CMSs like Joomla or WordPress as there are many similarities. But I wanted to make sure I knew the best practices for working in Confluence, and so got in touch with the good folks at Atlassian. Attending one of their training courses was going to be difficult given my time constraints and location, but they were very helpful and agreed to sell me a copy of their training manual, which is usually only distributed as part of a training course. The training material and the book Confluence, Tech Comm, Chocolate by Sarah Maddox, have given me a good understanding of all things Confluence. They are excellent starting points if you want to learn more about Confluence. I must also say a big thanks to Julian Maynard-Smith, a London-based technical author who is a big fan of Confluence.
Do I offer Confluence training? Unfortunately, no. I can write excellent training material, but delivering training to a high standard requires a different skill set. For Confluence training, and technical communication training in general, try Cherryleaf or Armada, both of which offer excellent courses here in the UK. Those are the companies I use when I want to get up to speed on a new product or standard.
For Excellent Wiki Content, Hire StrayGoat Today
You need a technical author with Atlassian Confluence knowledge, so complete the contact us form to get in touch. For clients in and around the Midlands, I can be available for on site work. If you are further afield, don’t fret – I can create exceptional content remotely too. All I need is contact with your subject matter experts, which can be by phone, Skype, email…whatever works best for you.