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The Hairball of Content - Lightning Version
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The Hairball of Content - Lightning Version

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Slides from my lightning presentation at #stc13 - STC Technical Commuication Summit. This time there won't be too much information ;-)

Slides from my lightning presentation at #stc13 - STC Technical Commuication Summit. This time there won't be too much information ;-)

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  • 1. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Content  is  just  stuff  we  write,  isn’t  it?  
  • 2. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  !   I  bet,  in  addition  to  tech  comm,  you  are  also  doing...  !   Content  Strategy  !   Information  Architecture  !   User  eXperience  and/or    interface  design  !   Marketing  !   Etc…  “Content is a hairy, Complicated Beast”-Kristina Halvorson, introducing Erin Kissane’s “The Elements of Content Strategy”
  • 3. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Designing User Assistance - Experience is MoreImportant than Taxonomy !   Problem  #1:  with  traditional   static  documentation,  the  product  gives  meaning  to  the  docs.  !   Users  experience  with  the  product  takes  them  from  the  abstract  realm  of  reading  about  the  product...    
  • 4. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Designing User Assistance - Experience is MoreImportant than Taxonomy !   Problem  #1:  with  traditional   static  documentation,  the  product  gives  meaning  to  the  docs.  !   Users  experience  with  the  product  takes  them  from  the  abstract  realm  of  reading  about  the  product...    !   to  the  reality  of  performance.      !   For  software,  the  obvious  next  step  was  to  embed  the  user  assistance  in  the  product  itself.    !   Minimalism  +  Structured  Authoring  make  this  doable.  
  • 5. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Let s Look at Minimalism !   Two  common  ideas  about  minimalism:  !   Don t  waste  user s  time  with  unnecessary  detail,  especially  concepts  !   Save  money  in  production  and  localization  with  reduced  content  !  STEP 1!!  STEP 2!!  STEP 3!DON’T DO THAT!NOTE:!WARNING!!!   Is  memorizing  a  procedure  by  rote  necessary  for  competency?  !   If  concepts  are  important,  how  do  we  include  them  without  “wasting  users’  time?”  !   How  do  I  know  if  I  need  to  do  this?  ?!
  • 6. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Double Embeddedness !   We  want  to  give  the  user  all  the  information  s/he  needs  and  only  the  information  s/he  needs.  !   For  the  most  part,  we ve  assumed  that  means  procedures.  Concepts  are  out  -­‐  too  long,  too  messy,  too  irrelevant.  The  user  wants  to  meet  her  or  his  contingent  need.  !   But  John  Carroll  didn’t  say  that  –  he  said,  most  people  learn  better  by  doing  something  than  by  reading  something.  Cognitive  science  says  the  same  thing.  !   Why  not  embed  conceptual  information  in  procedures?  !        So  here s  the  problem:  
  • 7. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Double Embeddedness: UA in UI and Concepts in Tasks Right  now,  you  are  probably  saying,  “this  guy  is  NUTS!”  Didn’t  anyone  tell  you  that’s  a  basic  tech  comm  101    no-­‐no?  NEVER  mix  procedures  and  concepts!  That’s  what  amateurs  do!  Why  do  you  think  we  have  different  DITA  topics  for  them?  Get  a  haircut!  Get  a  job!    A  REAL  job!  DITA  actually  does  have  mixed  topics  Give  them  a  bit  of  decision  support  and  they’ll  do  the  rest!  The  DITA  Step  element  includes  stepresult  and  info  subelements  
  • 8. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Going Beyond: Empowering the user BY EXTENSION, S/HE CAN ALSO...!!   Intensify  knowledge  levels  for  personal  interest  !   Pursue  related  information  as  a  hobby  !   Extend  professional  competency  independently  !   Look  to  past  experiences  to  find  out  what  s/he  may  have  forgotten  
  • 9. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Going Beyond: Empowering the user A  culture  of  information  sharing  and  knowledge  building,  inside  and  outside  the  organisation.  What  I  do  can  be  useful  for  others,  and  what  others  do  has  an  effect  on  what  I  can  use  -­‐  for  example,  if  a  YouTube  post  has  good  tags  or  not.  This  changes  how  we  react  to  our  environment,  and  has  social  and  ethical  implications  This  is  known  as  cognitive  development  
  • 10. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Cognition and Context Context  is  everything!  !   Concept  topics  remain  abstract.  Their  application  seems  distant  to  the  user.  !   A  conceptual  sentence  or  two  in  context  (while  performing  a  task)  reinforces  knowledge  acquisition  and  integration.  !   Tasks  should  also  explain  why  it  is  interesting  to  do  them  –    Decision  Support  
  • 11. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Cognition and Context Context  is  everything!  !   Concept  topics  remain  abstract.  Their  application  seems  distant  to  the  user.  !   A  conceptual  sentence  or  two  in  context  (while  performing  a  task)  reinforces  knowledge  acquisition  and  integration.  !   Tasks  should  also  explain  why  it  is  interesting  to  do  them  –    Decision  Support  Lots  of  detail  does  not  necessarily  mean  more  knowledge  
  • 12. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Having Lots of Resources is notalways a solution... … IF YOU DON’T HAVE ADEQUATE KNOWLEDGE OF THEMHidden  User  Assistance  is  no  Help  at  all!  
  • 13. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Integrated Competency Learning Adapted  by  Dr.  Neus  Lorenzo  from  Phil  Ball  &  Keith  Kelly  (2009)    Ref:  http://ow.ly/dLK8g    &    http://goo.gl/Ul3A2  +  Individually  significant  contextualisation  (contingency)  +Socio-­‐cultural  construction  (information    sharing,  mentoring)  +Procedural  Memorisation  +  Cognitive  construction  and  process  reasoning  +Code:  Mastery  of  the    language,  interface,  iconography...  +Thematic  knowledge  (SME)  
  • 14. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  ...AND WHEN????!Integrated Competency Learning Adapted  by  Dr.  Neus  Lorenzo  from  Phil  Ball  &  Keith  Kelly  (2009)    Ref:  http://ow.ly/dLK8g    &    http://goo.gl/Ul3A2  +  Individually  significant  contextualisation  (contingency)  +Socio-­‐cultural  construction  (information    sharing,  mentoring)  +Procedural  Memorisation  +  Cognitive  construction  and  process  reasoning  +Code:  Mastery  of  the    language,  interface,  iconography...  +Thematic  knowledge  (SME)  WHERE IN THIS SPACEDO YOU WANT YOURUSERS?!
  • 15. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  COGNITIVE-­‐SYMBOLIC  COMPLEXITY  RICHNESS  OF  THE  CONTENT  +!+!-!To Encourage Learning we must stimulate cognitive demand Adapted from a scheme by Dr. Neus Lorenzo
  • 16. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  COGNITIVE-­‐SYMBOLIC  COMPLEXITY  RICHNESS  OF  THE  CONTENT  +!+!-!To Encourage Learning we must stimulate cognitive demand Bloom’s  Pyramid  Adapted from a scheme by Dr. Neus LorenzoAre wehaving funyet?!
  • 17. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Dimensions of Competency Integrated  Learning  Literal  Content  Communication  Cognition  Community  Complexity  Criteria  Selection  Beginner  Basic  Threshold  Functional  Advanced  Mastery  Quantity  Quality  Interfaces,  hardware,  software,  user  assistance,  hands-­‐on  and  conceptual  combined  
  • 18. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Dimensions of Competency Integrated  Learning  Literal  Content  Communication  Cognition  Community  Complexity  Criteria  Selection  Beginner  Basic  Threshold  Functional  Advanced  Mastery  Quantity  Quality  Quantity  of  information  >  contingent  need    learner  gets  confused,    sense  of  chaos    Can’t  keep  track  of  it  all  In  moving  from  contingent  need  to  confusion,  we  still  learn  more.  Interfaces,  hardware,  software,  user  assistance,  hands-­‐on  and  conceptual  combined  COMPLEXITY  ≠  CHAOS!  
  • 19. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  THE  HAIRBALL  OF  CONTENT! !   Technical  communication  !   Content  strategy  !   Information  Architecture  !   User  Experience  !   Interface  Design  !   Localization  !   And  many  more...  CONTENT  WORK  
  • 20. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  !   Learn  by  doing  -­‐  Double  Embeddedness:  !   Integrated  procedures  and  user  experience  !   Embedded  user  assistance    !   High  added  Value  !   Single,  holistic  process  !   Interface  !   User  Assistance  !   Design  !   Information  Architecture    Cognitive Integrated Development OH!!
  • 21. Presentation  ©  2012  Ray  Gallon  all  rights  reserved  Thank  You!  email:  infodesign@culturecom.net  Twitter:  @RayGallon  LinkedIn:  Ray  Gallon  Google+:  +Ray  Gallon  Member, Board of Directors RAY  GALLON  C U L T U R E C O MCheck  out  my  blog,    «  Rant  of  a  Humanist  Nerd:  »  http://humanistnerd.culturecom.net  NOW  GO  OUT  AND  KEEP  MAKING  GOOD  CONTENT!  Portions  of  this  presentation  based  on  research  by  the  Transformation  Society  working  group.