Experience + Technology: A critical partnership

Anyone who knows me knows that I am technology and tool agnostic. That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. “Then why,” someone asked me recently, “are you speaking at the Adobe DITA World online conference? That sounds like it’s all about tools and technologies!”

Join the world’s leading Technical Communication, Marketing, DITA, Content Management and Translation Experts in the second Adobe DITA World 2017 Online Conference from October 10–12, 2017

There are a few responses to that question:

  • I was invited by Stefan Gentz to discuss structured content as a strategic approach in technical communication
  • I don’t consider structured content to be either a tool or a technology (I’m sure someone disagrees with me on that point)
  • The content experiences that technical communicators deliver can make or break the customer relationship, and those experiences are achieved through technology and authored and developed using tools — there is a critical partnership between experience and technology (including tools) that good communicators understand, design and build strategies around, and leverage to their customers’ best advantage

As a content professional–even one focused on strategy and design–I must understand what is possible with available technologies, at a minimum, to design the best content experience for my customers and users. And then I want to push the boundaries of what’s possible today, envision new experiences, and develop requirements for today’s tools and technologies to drive them to support tomorrow’s amazing content experiences. As a result, I need to keep up on what’s important today and what might be coming in the future.

And so do you! If you’re thinking structured content is old news, or that it’s not important for cool customer experiences, you will definitely want to attend my session. If you want a critical approach for creating outstanding content experiences–including machine-based experiences involving bots, AI, cognitive computing, and deep learning–attend the whole conference to learn the latest and greatest about structured content, DITA, and authoring tool information. It’s free! It’s fun–just look at the speaker lineup, which promises to make the conference very entertaining!

I look forward to your interaction and participation next week!

Design Thinking Workshop

You’ve likely heard of Design Thinking, but did you know that it’s not specifically and only about “design” as we typically think of design — industrial, interaction, or visual design of products? Design Thinking is a methodology for problem solving, and we’ve all got challenges and issues we need to address every day! In fact, Design Thinking is becoming more and more common as a general business practice. And it’s great for working through content challenges!

Join Andrea for a half-day, experiential tour of several techniques used in Design Thinking. Using one or more sample problems, workshop participants will work together to develop solutions following a Design Thinking framework. Because we’ll be face-to-face, we’ll go low-tech and focus on the framework and techniques using flip-chart paper and stickie notes. Andrea will also discuss how to get the most from the process across geographically distributed teams using online tools.

Date: November 8, 2017
Time: 1:45-5:15pm
Event: "Design Thinking" workshop at LavaCon Conference
Topic: Design Thinking Workshop
Sponsor: LavaCon
Venue: Hilton Downtown Portland
+1 503-226-1611
Location: 921 Southwest 6th Ave.
Portland, OR 97204
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Content Architecture: Where Humans and Machines Agree

If there’s one thing about content on which humans and machines can agree, it’s consistency—particularly architectural consistency. Often the format, markup language, or content management approach that you use is far less relevant than the output of the content—the deliverables, themselves—in the success of content for both humans and machines. This is somewhat controversial, as much of the discussion of “structured content” dives directly to the underlying format—even though the architecture and design of the resulting experience and content within that experience should be driving those more technical decisions.

Arguably, the most critical aspect of structured content—“the architecture”—drives the success of the content for people and machines. The pitfalls of leaping directly into a technology discussion—about XML, content management systems, etc.—vs. spending the right time and focus on design can often lead to significantly less successful content, rework, and additional cost.

Attend this mini-workshop to better understand content modeling at the deliverable and experience level—not at the individual article or topic level. You’ll learn about an approach for accomplishing great content architecture (one that can save time, reduce costs, and help you use your limited resources wisely). And, you’ll discover the steps you’ll need to follow in order to successfully create—and validate—your own content modeling approach.

Date: November 29, 2017
Time: 2:50-4:30 pm
Event: "Content Architecture: Where Humans and Machines Agree" mini workshop at Information Development World 2017
Topic: [Mini-Workshop] Content Architecture: Where Humans and Machines Agree
Sponsor: The Content Wrangler
Venue: Quadrus Conference Center
+1 (650) 854-2342
Location: 2400 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
US
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Structured Content … Sexy? Strategic? Or Both?

It might be hard to believe, but structured content has been around for decades. FrameBuilder (FrameMaker with structured content support) made its debut in the early 1990s. Through the rise of modern tools, like FrameMaker, and technologies, like DITA, structured content has become much easier to author, and thus more popular.

But is structured content important? Or is it just another (albeit long-lived) trend? Given structured content’s long reign, isn’t it time for a new strategy to overthrow the throne? For now, at least, the answer is no.

If there is a holy grail of content, most experts would probably agree it’s structure. Why? Because structure provides so many benefits, in so many different ways — to authors and authoring, to the content experience, enabling achieving business goals, and the list goes on.

In this presentation, Andrea will discuss the business, user experience, and organizational impact of structured content — all of the aspects that make structured content strategic. And then she’ll try to convince you that structured content is sexy, too!

Date: October 11, 2017
Time: 3:00 pm
Event: "Structured Content … Sexy? Strategic? Or Both?" session at Adobe DITA World 2017
Topic: Structured Content … Sexy? Strategic? Or Both?
Sponsor: Adobe
Venue: Adobe DITA World 2017
Location: Online Conference
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

It’s Not Just Content — It’s An Experience

As content professionals, we are inundated every day with competing priorities, reduced resources, and a business climate that changes faster than we can assimilate. As a result, we are typically heads-down and focused on creating the content for our customer deliverables—everything from white papers and data sheets to text in the user interface and instructions to self-paced and instructor-led training. And often this gives us a very detail-focused view of the world. We tend to lose sight of the bigger-picture problem that our customers are trying to solve. In the end, we create detailed, accurate documentation or training or marketing content, but that content doesn’t interoperate well with other content. We miss the forest because we’re focused completely on the trees.

While content is incredibly important, the experience in which it is delivered can make or break a reader’s success with that content. When it is delivered relative to the other activities the reader is doing, where within those activities (or journey) it is presented to the reader, and in what forms and formats—those are key success factors that make up the experience side of the equation.

Join host, Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler, and me for this practical one-hour webinar. I will discuss my framework for designing the experience we are striving to achieve for our clients and customers, including the key components of a great experience; what it takes to achieve consistency across multiple content creators within a single experience design; the steps for designing a great experience, and tips for validating that the experience meetings the needs of your customers.

Date: October 24, 2017
Time: 1:00 pm
Event: "It's Not Just Content — It's An Experience" webinar at The Content Wrangler
Topic: It's Not Just Content — It's An Experience
Sponsor: The Content Wrangler
Venue: BrightTALK
Location: Online
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Managing Stakeholders Across the Content Ecosystem: The Key to Implementing a Content Strategy

Trying to implement an content strategy that supports your customers across their entire journey — or even just sell the idea to decision makers? Having problems getting it to fly?

More than any other single aspect, stakeholder management is critical to getting support for and implementing a unified content strategy (or ANY project, for that matter). You need to understand THEIR needs and ensure that you’re communicating continually to quiet objections and move your project forward. And it’s not always easy — especially when you’re leading initiatives across silos and teams with no direct authority. Influencing those stakeholders is key!

In this session, Andrea will discuss the success factors to aim for, and the behaviors that can trip you up, when managing stakeholders to successfully support your clients, solve business problems, and drive revenue and customer loyalty!

Date: November 8, 2017
Time: 9:00-10:00am
Event: "Managing Stakeholders Across the Content Ecosystem: The Key to Implementing a Content Strategy" session at LavaCon Conference
Topic: Managing Stakeholders Across the Content Ecosystem: The Key to Implementing a Content Strategy Across the End-to-End Client Journey
Sponsor: LavaCon
Venue: Hilton Downtown Portland
+1 503-226-1611
Location: 921 Southwest 6th Ave.
Portland, OR 97204
US
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.

Human vs Machine: Conflict or Collaboration?

Unless you have been vacationing on Mars for the past couple of years, you know that AI, machine learning, and cognitive computing are the hottest things in digital experience since HTML 1.0. And as a savvy content professional, you know that 80-90% of the digital experience is content. Content is the conversation we have with our prospects and our customers. Content carries the client relationship into the digital realm.

So how does content fare in this new, smarter digital space? What impact does machine-based experience have on the content that we create and the content experiences we want our customers to have? Must we learn an entirely new way of doing things? Or is the Machine Age just forcing us to adopt content-creation approaches that we should have been using all along? Is the development of human-readable content in conflict with the processes and designs we must follow to create good machine-processable content? Or is the content more similar than not?

In this opening keynote address, Andrea, will discuss the importance of making our content both human-readable and machine-processable. You’ll discover how doing so can help you ensure you are providing the best content experiences possible.

Date: November 28, 2017
Time: 9:00-9:30am
Event: "Human vs Machine: Conflict or Collaboration?" keynote at Information Development World 2017
Topic: [Keynote] Human vs Machine: Conflict or Collaboration?
Sponsor: The Content Wrangler
Venue: Quadrus Conference Center
+1 (650) 854-2342
Location: 2400 Sand Hill Road
Menlo Park, CA 94025
US
Public: Public
Registration: Click here to register.
More Info: Click here for more information.