Best-practice strategies for your documentation projects



Tech comm strategist | information architect | Flare consultant

I started the technical communications consultancy Nita Beck Communications almost 26 years ago, after having spent a decade first as a corporate technical writer and then as department manager. I’ve served as information architect, online help designer and author, documentation project manager, web editor, college instructor, and trainer and mentor to countless fellow writers. Now I spend my professional time consulting with clients seeking to adopt modern documentation technologies, to “get it right” from the outset.

My design tools and techniques are varied, but my favorites are mindmapping and wireframes. I use mindmaps to conceptualize the information architecture of a documentation system. I then export those mindmaps into formats that are poised for import into my development tools. With wireframes, I create mockups of layout and navigation for client feedback and approval.

My primary development tool is MadCap Flare, an XML-based authoring tool for developing content specifically intended for re-use and multi-format publishing. I hold MadCap Advanced Developer (MAD) certification in MadCap Flare. In 2009, I founded and am the current manager of the Rochester Flare User Group, the first “in-the-flesh” user group about Flare (according to MadCap Software). I’m also an MVP at the MadCap Software user forums.

I’ve had the good fortune to speak at the MadWorld Conference in San Diego, CA, in 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2017 (and to attend in 2016). At MadWorld 2017, I presented two sessions, one on best practices for designing Flare projects for maintenance and the other on the use (or not) of Flare’s factory project templates. Past MadWorld presentations included how to rapidly prototype a Flare project; how to “turbocharge” one’s Flare authoring (that is, how to speed up the act of writing in Flare); best practices for the solo Flare “artist” (such as those who are self-employed or are lone writers within their organizations or departments); and the basic principles of version control (aka source control) and specifically how to integrate Flare with Apache Subversion.

I hold a bachelors degree in English and Dramatic Arts and a masters degree in Education. For 18 years, I taught various technical communications courses as an adjunct instructor at Rochester Institute of Technology, where I helped to design several tech comm certificate programs. Before that, I taught high school English.

I share my life with my best friend and husband Jeff and our two children — a son now settled in Chicago and a daughter attending Brown University. Both are the loves of our lives.

My LinkedIn profile

MAD Certified in Flare

MadCap Advanced Developer (MAD) certified in Flare since 2009

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