We took what we learned from the popular Arbortext Monster Garage virtual meeting series and the overwhelming requests we received from the first annual TC Camp held in Santa Clara in January 2013 and blended them together. The result — a new twist on the typical web session.
In pursuit of the ultimate techCom information architecture
Recently, a lot of discussion has emerged in social media about user assistance and findability in technical communication and how to design for findability. Faceted navigation and search has been discussed as a solution, and I believe that it may be a promising way out. In fact, a lot of discussion in the technical communication community is about what comes after the "book paradigm". I do see a trend in that more and more technical communicators are saying that we are answering user questions instead of writing books.
Review meeting yesterday so discuss the results of converting a paper-based User Guide into DITA-based Web Help – enthusiastic acceptance, and the immediate question "When can you start converting the b-i-g Product Guide?"
Obviously, the first thing that made their eyes light up was just a way of delivering content on-line: but I did my best to make sure they knew this is driven by structured information, and that they will need to adjust their way of thinking. They've gone off to read DITA for the impatient from the XML Mind site.
I attended several sessions on metrics, including the conference keynote, and a few key points jumped out at me:
The wrong metrics can be worse than no metrics at all
Metrics should be stable over time to allow for tracking
Start by figuring out what decisions you need to make – then gather the metrics you need to make that decision
Showed the results so far to one of the developers yesterday, output to multi-page xhtml, and came away with some useful questions. Selecting the <prolog> and then Help > Show content model – I'm so pleased with my choice of editor – pointed me in the direction of prodinfo and reminded me about critdates, and output to Web Help added navigation and docset search …