Using technology to simplify export documentation

Business West working with their IT partners i2i, have built upon their combined expertise in assisting companies to export and tackle the bureaucracy and paperwork associated with exporting. The platform creates the myriad of documents required via a single entry point and then enables these to be shared both up and down the supply chain.

The resulting award winning platform is now assisting exporters across the globe and enables them to engage with a raft of related export services.

The team will outline how they identified the market opportunity, scoped and developed the technology and are now taking this innovative solution to the end users.

This session is delivered by James Monk and Penny Underwood.

Common Technical Data

This keynote presentation will describe the Common Technical Data Solution being introduced at Rolls-Royce. The aim of this plan is to optimize the development of technical publications across different business functions, and to coordinate the work of the technical authors involved in writing them. This promises to be a fascinating and exciting insight into technical communication on a grand scale.

This keynote presentation is delivered by Nigel Wright, with Steve Foster and Ian McGill.

Communicating the Bristol innovation story

Bristol is one of six Science Cities in England. The designation is there to attract inward investment, and encourage organic growth, in the technology and science sector. The challenge for Science City Bristol Limited is how to communicate with a disparate audience of business people, investors (both local and international), academics, funders and support organisations. This session will look at the approaches SCB is taking to try and reach these sectors and what success it is having. These include the use of social media, newsletters, networking events, video, websites, conferences and an innovative cluster map of technology-related businesses.

This session is delivered by Alastair Watson.

Changing our mindset for the future of content work

This session is about getting yourself ready for the future, whatever it may bring. Change is not something that we usually excel at in technical communications.

If we don’t update our thinking, content and methods, each new wave of technology puts us yet another step behind the curve. Even though tablets and smart phones have reached near ubiquity with professional users, most organisations do not have their people, processes, platforms or content ready for mobile delivery. Many are not even internet-ready. Today we’re bombarded by announcements of new content creation and consumption technologies that are wearable, social, dynamic or embedded directly in products.

Although we can talk about how to do something about it, before our content and processes can change, we must change. We must address what is actually holding us back: how we think about our content in the first place.

This session will provide a new and inspiring perspective on how you can and must work with content to be ready for the future. We’ll look at updating our processes, structures and the biases and habits that surround them.

This session is delivered by Noz Urbina.

The incremental steps towards dynamic and embedded content delivery

Dynamic delivery is delivery of context-appropriate information that can be assembled at the time of request with the most up-to-date, relevant content appropriate for the user and interface in question.

Embedded content is where content becomes a seamless part of device interfaces. Products become “self-describing”, allowing users to work uninterrupted by the need to open help files or manuals.

Many aspire to working in this way, but few (so far) have achieved it. This workshop looks at the benefits, requirements, and barriers related to these new types of delivery.

We will look at:

  • Why should we bother with this type of delivery?
  • What type of techniques, technologies and skills are required to realise such a system?
  • What are the risks at each stage?


  • Laptop with MS Word-compatible editor
  • Ability to read from a USB stick

This workshop is facilitated by Noz Urbina.

Bake your own taxonomy

This workshop will give technical communicators a guided opportunity to develop a documentation structure, with the emphasis on doing justice to existing, unstructured content, rather than merely recreating the concept, task, and reference ‘holy trinity’ of topic types. Chris and Kai will outline basic principles of creating a taxonomy and an information model, drawing on cognitive science concepts like learning and mental models, to explain why standard topic types don’t always work, but why taxonomies do. They will also show how information models can be effective in making structured content easier to understand, and efficient for technical communicators to reuse. The workshop will give attendees practice at using physical media to turn unstructured content into structured documentation, at deducing and sketching out taxonomies based on existing content. Techniques such as card sorting may be of particular interest to attendees whose job roles touch on usability, user experience, or information architecture.

This workshop is facilitated by Chris Atherton and Kai Weber.

Managing documentation projects in an Agile way

Agile methods are increasing in popularity as an approach to project management and product delivery. Originating in computer systems development, the methods are now gaining acceptance for application in contexts other than information technology. Many organisations, across all sectors, are citing methods from the Agile family as assisting in delivering the right products and services at the right time.

This workshop will develop knowledge and understanding of Agile methods from two viewpoints: what a project manager will experience when managing projects using an Agile method and what technical communications professionals and customers will experience when working on a project managed using Agile methods.

John and Alasdair’s workshop will use a variety of workshop interventions and exercises to express ideas, engage the group and to facilitate knowledge and understanding of the Agile family of methods.

This workshop is facilitated by John Burns and Alasdair Bullivant.

Developing KPIs

KPIs (key performance indicators) are measures that help you manage your team’s activities, improve your content and communicate with your colleagues and customers. Even if KPIs aren’t part of your organisation’s culture, going through the process of developing them will sharpen up your strategy and ensure you and your team are focused on activities that really matter to the business.
This is a hands-on workshop, where you will spend most of the time working alone and in small groups and to come up with KPIs through exercises.
During the session you will:

  • learn about the characteristics of good KPIs
  • begin to develop KPIs relevant to your role

The workshop is suitable for anyone working as a technical communicator or managing a technical communications team.

This workshop is facilitated by Rachel Potts.

Planning user documentation when you are a startup business

In this presentation, we’ll look at how to plan a user documentation project when you’re working for a startup technology company. Working in this environment gives you the opportunity to work ‘from a clean sheet’, but it also has its own challenges of working in a dynamic and rapidly changing environment.

We’ll look at the issues around planning user documentation and the additional considerations when you are a startup. Your budget may be limited and the product or service in development may be constantly changing, so how should you work in this situation? What should you be developing, and what is the value of user documentation for a startup?

This session will cover:

  • What is different about working for a startup
  • Lean startup strategies
  • The value of user documentation for a startup and why should you provide it
  • How to document in this environment
  • What you should document
  • What you should measure
  • What to do when budgets are limited
  • What to do when there is no clear audience

This session is delivered by Ellis Pratt.