Patterns in language for linguistic disambiguation in a style checker

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Some style guides specify the part of speech that an approved term has. For example, Microsoft style permits the word ‘input’ as a noun but not as a verb. An effective style checker must give a warning only if a term is used incorrectly.

Patterns in language can be used to identify the part of speech that a term has.

In the structure, ‘an + X + was’, X is a noun. Most text is more complex.
Sometimes, disambiguation is not possible. However, the patterns are sufficiently good for practical purposes. (The patterns are used in a term checker.)

This session is delivered by Mike Unwalla.

Digital accessibility: Strategy, content and delivery

Delivering content across different digital channels is an accepted part of today’s communication landscape. But how do you make sure your information is reaching everyone who wants (or needs) to access it?

This presentation will explain how to create a successful digital accessibility strategy. It will look at existing standards and frameworks, accessibility as part of agile and waterfall methodologies, and provide best practice guidance for accessible content across different platforms.

This session is delivered by Léonie Watson.

Working with product management – how important is the information experience?

How well do you know your product manager? Do they come to you to understand what the user experience is like when using the product and associated help? If not, then maybe it is time they should. According to the Product Development and Management Association (PDMA), products that deliver unique benefits and superior value to the customer are the primary drivers of success and product profitability. This doesn’t just relate to function, it also relates to the user experience as a whole, a massive part of that being how a user feels about the help and ‘documentation’ that is presented to them as part of that experience.

Sophie will discuss her experiences working with product management in terms of ensuring the right message is being delivered across the product, but also in making the product teams aware of the impact that the written word has on the user experience.

This session is delivered by Sophie McMonagle.

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.

Was this written by a cat on a keyboard? The useless assistance project

Over a year ago Edward Smyda-Homa started a brave Felix Baumgartner-like, spiraling plunge through the Twitter-sphere. He created and maintains a Twitter account called Useless Assistance (@uselessassist), which contains retweets to remind organizations of the frustration and negative emotions that result from poorly prepared assistance.

This presentation is a light-hearted look at the poor assistance people are encountering and attempts to categorise the common gripes. How organizations are monitoring and responding to such negative assistance-related tweets will also be examined. It is hoped that the findings shared will trigger discussion on how quality issues in our trade can be addressed.

This session is delivered by Edward Smyda-Homa.