When culture meets content

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This session presents an overview of some of the issues documentation and training materials can face when being viewed through a cultural lens different to our own to better equip technical communicators who are writing for an international readership. Choice of words and supporting images will be examined with the aid of in-country research conducted in Oman together with experience gained on recent projects.

This session is presented by Andrew Peck.

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.

Addicted to meaning: Mental models for technical communicators

This presentation explores how ‘meaning’ works and how you can create meaningful technical communication. Understanding how and why communication is meaningful can help make your documentation more effective. Based on semantics and mental models, Kai explains:

  • How users create meaning from documentation
  • When meaning succeeds – and why it fails so often
  • Why minimalism works, but FAQs often don’t
  • And how we all are addicted to meaning

Attendees will get a deeper understanding on their work as Kai puts familiar tech comm methods into new context in a romp of aha-moments.

The session is delivered by Kai Weber.

The Quantum Funnel: working with the black holes of knowledge

For most of our history, we have designed linear, sequential learning systems, starting with beginners’ level and progressing to advanced. But the web lets us quickly find morsels of information out of sequence, without the context to understand it. We all have “quantum black holes” in our knowledge bases, which we fill in using a variety of strategies, mostly improvised. This presentation focuses on a cognitive model that explains current learning phenomena, and goes on to explore how we can design information for this world of “standalone chunks” that comes from a “new” user interaction model, and a new type of user/learner.

This session is delivered by Ray Gallon.

Content delivered? Check. OK how do we use it?

You spend months developing your content. You deliver it and wait for your users to say how good it is. The problem is, how many users REALLY know how to get the best from it. For example, do they know:

  • What content is there?
  • How best to find what they require?
  • How to navigate around the content?

In this presentation you will see how training users about your content increases customer satisfaction and reduces support costs. If you can’t do this directly, it will show how others can do it on your behalf.

This presentation is delivered by Colum McAndrew.