Chuck Martin's Portfolio Page

From this page you can view a variety of user assistance I've designed and developed, some other work that I've done, and my resume.

Writing Samples

Tight Writing First is an example of what I call tight writing: Writing that is lean, clean, clear, and focused on user goals.
Horizon Line User & Maintenance Guide This is a document prepared for a contract client who designed and built a permanently installed data visualization system. They wanted a document that would allow the customer to do basic maintenance and troubleshooting without the need to call support. In the pre-hire interview, I asked a number of questions about how the devices worked and how the customer would use them. My questioning led to the company's engineers to automate some functions and make the system simpler. This also resulted in a shorter, simpler document.

This illustrates the common fallacy that a technical writer needs to be a domain expert to be successful. I knew nothing about the specific technology going in, yet my background in and knowledge of technology allowed me to first ask intelligent questions when I was in the interview stage and then learn about the specific technology and its users during the documentation development process.
QuickBooks UI content One of my responsibilities at Intuit was content within the application UI, the first level of user assistance. On two different teams, Online Banking and Forms Customization, I wrote the content for two wizards.
Rivio Help Sample Next is a substantial section of an HTML-based help file for a web application. I've extracted the sections I designed, organized, and wrote. The original ran within a proprietary XML framework; I've extracted the content and duplicated the organization with DevaHelp, a Dreamweaver extension that was developed by online help expert Ben Weisner.
Rivio Setup and Configuration Guide The next sample is a PDF file of an administration guide.
eVox Web User Guide
eVox Rater Guide
These two samples are for users of an internal system. One is a user guide for a web application; the other is instructions for using a phone-based application, and it was designed to be printed double-sided on 8.5" x 11" paper (two sheets), then folded to make a 5.5" x 8.5" booklet.
Project InVision Help This sample is an HTML-based help system for a web application. It was developed in RoboHTML. The content was almost entirely rewritten and reorganized to make it task-based. The keyword index is completely new. And I designed a "skin" to match the look and feel of the application itself. (Note: the browser-sniffing code RoboHelp used to generate JavaScript-based navigation back on the early 2000s causes the navigation pane to not display in Google Chrome for Windows.)
Timogen Adaptive Controller User Guide
Timogen Adaptive Controller Help
This sample contains both a PDF version and an online Help version of documentation I wrote for Timogen Systems. As a contractor, I was not involved early with the development team and came on-board when the project was nearing release. Thus, I was unable to do a lot of planning and estimating, but rather had to dive in, learn about the product specifics, and start writing. I quickly defined the area I needed to document and tracked my progress in each area. I single-sourced content in Adobe FrameMaker and used Quadralay WebWorks Publisher to create the online help, making some changes to the template files to create the Timogen-specific look-and-feel.
Java Primer for Help Authors In the late 90s, I took a Java Programming class. A couple of companies had created Java-based help systems. I gave a presentation at the 1999 WritersUA Conference for Software User Assistance on Java programming and the new help technologies.

WritersUA Newsletters

I attended nearly every WritersUA Conference for Software User Assistance. And for more than a dozen years, I created daily conference newsletters, including information gathering, writing, photography, and production. Here are some samples of those newsletters, all in PDF format.

I also live blogged from sessions in recent years, and this list also includes links to some of those blogs.

2012: Monday Tuesday Wednesday blog
2011: Monday Tuesday Wednesday blog
2010: Monday Tuesday Wednesday blog
2009: Monday Tuesday Wednesday blog
2008: Monday Tuesday
2006: Monday Tuesday Wednesday
1999: Monday Tuesday Wednesday

LavaCon Newsletters

In 2012, I attended the LavaCon Conference on Digital Media and Content Strategy, and I produced a daily newsletter and blogged for that conference as well.

2012: Sunday Monday Tuesday blog

Resume

I have two versions of my resume available, a more traditional one and a more modern one, the latter with more details about me, my passions, and my journey.